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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Tokyo, at Asakusa Temple

Asakusa is a district in Taitō, Tokyo, Japan, famous for the Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. There are several other temples in Asakusa, as well as various festivals, such as the Sanja Matsuri.
For many centuries, Asakusa used to be Tokyo's leading entertainment district. During the Edo Period (1603-1867), when the district was still located outside the city limits, Asakusa was the site of kabuki theaters and a large red light district. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, modern types of entertainment, including movie theaters, set foot in Asakusa.
The complex resembles the Edo-period site, with several imposing gates, including the Kaminarimon or the Thunder Gate, with its iconic giant red lantern, and a five-story pagoda. The giant red lantern is 4 meters tall, 3.4 meters in circumference and weighs 670 kilograms. The front of the lantern displays the gate's name, Kaminarimon. Painted on the back is the gates official name, Fūraijin-mon. A wooden carving depicting a dragon adorns the bottom of the lantern.
The Asakusa temple is dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. According to legend, a statue of the Kannon was found in the Sumida River in the year 628 by two fishermen, the brothers Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari. The chief of their village, Hajino Nakamoto, recognized the sanctity of the statue and enshrined it by remodeling his own house into a small temple in Asakusa so that the villagers could worship Kannon.
Every year on a weekend in mid May, a festival takes place in the Asakusa area , called the Sanja Matsuri. It is one of Tokyo’s most popular festivals. It is held in celebration of the three founders of Sensoji Temple, who are enshrined next door to the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Its prominent parades revolve around three mikoshi (portable shrines), as well as traditional music and dancing. The procession of Sanja Matsuri  for the three mikoshi, begins from Nakamise-Dōri towards the Kaminarimon. These three elaborate shrines honor and represent the three men responsible for founding the Sensō-ji. During this final day of the festival, these  three important mikoshi are split up in order to visit and bestow blessing to all 44 districts of downtown and residential Asakusa.
Nakamise Dori is a shopping street that runs from the Kaminarimon right up to the Senso-ji Temple. Around 90 stores line up along the 250 meter long strip, transforming this street into the prime shopping spot in Asakusa. Nakamise Dori is one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan.
Various products are sold here, such as Japanese chopsticks,  wooden combs, fabrics, dolls, art products and traditional Japanese snacks.
Further down between Asakusa and Ueno there is Kappabashi-dori, also known just as Kappabashi  or Kitchen Town, a street which is almost entirely populated with shops supplying the restaurant trade. These shops sell everything from knives and other kitchen utensils, mass-produced crockery, restaurant furniture, ovens, and decorations, through to esoteric items such as the plastic display food (sampuru) found outside Japanese restaurants.
If you’re after some reasonably priced traditional pottery, kitchen utensils, sake or tea sets, chopsticks or knives, you won’t leave disappointed.
Source: Wikipedia

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