Following on from the all-encompassing Edo-Tokyo museum, we befittingly move onto what is deemed to be the epicentre of development for Edo culture – Sensō-ji temple.
Click any still to enter gallery mode and (potentially) learn something new!
Hozomon Gate by day. Senso-Ji is a westerners dream. It’s what you picture when you think of a Japanese Buddhist temple.
Rare: had to get a photo with this beautiful building.
Japanese architecture. Mystical.
The otherside of Hozomon Gate.
In front of the temple is a large incense cauldron: the smoke is said to bestow health and you’ll see people rubbing it into their bodies through their clothes.
“Osuisha” is where you go to purify yourself before entering the main hall. You wash your hands and mouth with water pouring from a dragon’s jaws. In this particular shot the sun shines upon the upper half of Ryushinzo – who rules over the water.
Dragons Jaws run dry.
Locals queuing up to pray outside the main hall. This shot really puts into perspective how large the lanterns are.
View from the main hall.
Kannondo Main Hall. The temple was actually flattened during the WW2 Tokyo bombing raids. However was rebuilt in 1958 with the funding of the people. It is now a symbol of peace where people come to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the raids.
Although Japan were allies with Germany in WW2 this particular symbol has no relevance to fascism or anti-semitism. In fact it means quite the polar opposite – in ancient sanskrit it denotes ‘peace and happiness’ and has been used by hindus and buddhists for centuries. In modern Japan it’s used to locate buddhist temples on maps. With the 2020 olympics coming up, there is now a debate whether this should be the case as tourists could quite easily get confused/be offended.
Asakusa-jinja, a shrine built in honour of the brothers who discovered the Kannon statue that inspired the construction of Sensō-ji. There’s 2 things I love about this shot. One is the serenity and the other is the near perfect composition.
Omikuji the ‘fortune telling paper strip’. You’ll find these in abundance at Japanese buddhist temples. On this particular day there were racks upon racks which lined the wide path to the main hall.
In order to acquire your Omijuki you shake an obtuse metal box until a small bamboo stick falls out. You then match the sign on the stick with a sign on the profusion of wooden boxes to the left (this can take some time if you can’t write/read japanese!). Once discovered you take the piece of paper out and read your hopefully promising fortune! This young lady looks very deep in thought – serious business!
The vermillion lacquered Homozon Gate and Gojunoto. The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon (the goddess of mercy), out of the Sumida River, and no matter how many times they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji temple was built nearby as a home for the goddess of Kannon.
One of the fearsome Nio statues of Hozomon Gate.
Nakamise-dori, said to be one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan. Providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. In the background you can see the iconic Kaminarimon gate, a symbol of Asakusa and the great city of Tokyo. I love the bright colours, symmetry and composition in this shot.
Kannondo main hall by night. You can see where Pharrell gets his inspiration from.
Spot the capital ‘E’. If you find it let me know in the comments section!
Designated as a national treasure the five storey pagoda soars into the sky.
Beautiful hue blue night sky outlines the perfect Japanese design.
Spot the moon.
One of my favourite shots. Fyodor Dostoevsky: “the darker the night the brighter the stars”.