Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sensoji Temple Tokyo

If you are looking for a day trip that includes history, sightseeing, shopping and food, plan a day to go to Sensoji Temple in Tokyo. It is the oldest and most important temple in Tokyo. It is a very beautiful and interesting temple to visit. Frommer's Review:Also popularly known as Asakusa Kannon, this is Tokyo's oldest and most popular temple, with a history dating back to A.D. 628. That was when, according to popular lore, two brothers fishing in the nearby Sumida River netted the catch of their lives -- a tiny golden statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and happiness who is empowered with the ability to release humans from all suffering. Sensoji Temple was erected in her honor, and although the statue is housed here, it's never shown to the public. Still, through the centuries, worshippers have flocked here seeking favors of Kannon; and when Sensoji Temple burned down during a 1945 bombing raid, the present structure was rebuilt with donations by the Japanese people.Colorful Nakamise Dori, a pedestrian lane leading to the shrine, is lined with traditional shops and souvenir stands. In fact, the whole Asakusa area is one of my favorite neighborhoods, and you can easily spend half a day here.You can actually spend a whole day from dawn until dusk here and if you decide to take the Sumida River Cruise which is in walking distance, you can really make a super day of it.From Atsugi, go to Chuo-Rinkan on the den-en-toshi line. Take it all the way to Omote-Sando. (NOTE: the line actually turns into the Hanzemon Line. Pay attention to the English announcements to make sure you are on the correct train, I have had to transfer to make sure it changes into the Hanzemon line.) You can transfer at Shibuya, but it is easier to transfer at Omote-Sando due to the smaller station size. Transfer to the Ginza Line and take it to Asakusa, which is the last stop. Keep in mind that the train ride is about an hour and a half. Also keep in mind that on the way back, the trains are PACKED.TIP: If you haven't already picked up a temple book, this is a good place. You can purchase one near the temple for 1000 yen and have it stamped for about 500 yen. This is a wonderful souvenir that you can pull out and remember your temple and shrine visits for years to come at a reasonable money output.MUST DO: Across the street from the Entrance Gate is the Asakusa Tourist Center. They speak very good English! They can provide you with a map of the local restaurants that breaks them down by specialty. They will be honest about recommending the best restaurants. We ate at a newer place that we asked for and it was yummy. It was only about a 4 minute walk away. The center has some really nice cultural items and you can ask questions about them. A very nice gentleman spent about 20 minutes with us explaining some items we were curious about. On the front of the building their is a clock. Every hour, on the hour, the clock opens and a mechanical portable shrine, with people carrying it comes out, plays music and it is really delightful.Other things to do: Get your fortune at the temple, waft incense your way for good health, light a candle for someone, enjoy lots of local food, shop, shop, shop, baskin robbins, KFC, a couple of good bars, Karaoke, Sumida River Cruise, see the torch shaped building. If you want to take the Sumida River Cruise, I recommend that you check out the times early. Take a round trip that goes to Pallett town. Venus Fort mall is at Pallett Town and that's a REALLY NICE MALL. It looks like a Vegas Fancy hotel upstairs. I think you have to take two diff. boats to go there.

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