D5: Senso-ji: Asakusa Kannon Temple

Yep, these are photos from Day 5.  And to give a full sense of just how tardy this is, today is Day 38 of our trip. Preparing the photos for the blog is the most time-consuming thing, so the posts with just a few photos are infinitely easier. So I’ve been putting off blogging about some of our most exciting sight-seeing adventures.  However, we leave for a few days in Kyoto next week, and since I’m sure to return with hundreds of temple photos, I thought I should at least upload photos of the temples and shrines we’ve visited thus far.

So this is from our visit to Senso-ji, the oldest temple in Tokyo (the “-ji” suffix indicates a Buddhist temple, as opposed to, for instance, a Shinto Shrine).  The temple dates from 628 (actually, the temple’s origin story dates it precisely to March 18, 628), and the story tells of two brothers fishing on the nearby Sumida river, who caught a 5 cm golden statue in their nets, and threw it back, only to have it reappear, not once, but twice in their nets. After catching it the third time, they decided something must be up with this statue. It turns out it was a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy (in Sanskrit, she is known as Avelokitesvara; in Chinese, she is Quan Yin – one of the most famous and beloved Bodhisattvas.  The Japanese seem to love her as well, as there are temples devoted to her everywhere).  In 645, the village chief (of the village where the two brothers lived) built a hall for the Kannon statue, where the current Senso-ji temple stands (like most buildings in Tokyo, the current temple is not the original structure: earthquakes, fires, and wars have rendered very old buildings nearly impossible to find here).

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