Attraction Asakusa Shrine 2-3-１ Asakusa Taito, Tokyo 111-0032 Japan Published on: 10-04-2016
|1 hours 30 mins|
|06:00 AM - 05:00 PM|
Temple & Monument
Asakusa Shrine is good for
- Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
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Why Asakusa Shrine is special ?
When going through the stone Torii standing on the east side of the main building of Sensô-ji Temple, you arrive in the precinct of Asakusa Jinja Shrine, which is enshrined local Shinto deities of the whole Asakusa and commonly known by "Sanja Sama" famed for Sanja Matsuri Festival. The beginning of this shrine is that people built Sanja Gongen-sha Shrine (current Asakusa Jinja Shrine) for worshipping three persons, Hinokuma brothers and Haji no Nakatomo, who are deeply related to the story about the beginning of Sensô-ji Temple (see above). Therefore, the crest of this shrine is "Mitsuami" modeled on three casting nets. It is supposed that this shrine had already been built until the end of the Kamakura period, because there is a record that one of the Shinto rituals "Funatogyo" (carrying the sacred object across a river by boat) was performed at that time.
The main building of the current shrine was rebuilt in 1649 donated by the 3rd shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, because that was repeatedly suffered collapses by fires.
And at that time Asakusa Tôshôgû Shrine in the precinct of the temple moved into the Edo Castle, but the image of Ieyasu (first Tokugawa shogun) in the Tôshôgû Shrine was kept at Asakusa and came to be enshrined together with three deities of Sanja Gongen-sha Shrine and was served by Sensô-ji Temple. How-ever, by the Ordinance Distinguishing Shinto and Buddhism in the Meiji period, Sanja Gongen-sha Shrine was independent from Sensô-ji Temple and changed its name into the current. Hikan Inari Shrine also remains in the precinct, which was built by the request of Shinmon Tatsugorô, who was deeply connected with Asakusa and asked Fushimi Inari Shrine to make a branch shrine.
What to explore at Asakusa Shrine?
Sanja Matsuri Festival, held at Asakusa Jinja Shrine every year from Friday to Sunday near in May 17 and 18, is one of the major festivals in Tokyo. It is the very lively festival that three Mikoshi (portable shrine), where each deity enshrines, are carried around 44 towns of Asakusa. According to the chronicle "Sensô-ji Engi", the shrine received the oracle "Make Mikoshi, hold the ritual Funatogyo, and pray for world peace," in March of 1312. This is said to be the beginning of Sanja Matsuri Festival. Once, the festival held every year on March 18, which is the day Hinokuma brothers found the statue of Buddha, and the ritual Funatogyo held every other year. In the Edo period, eighteen towns of Asakusa, its number is associated with the day 18th, competed the luxuriousness of their festival floats.
In the Meiji period, the ritual Funatogyo and the parade of festival floats disappeared in the festival, and its schedule was changed into the two days, on May 17 and 18. The parade of Mikoshi came to hold in place of the festival floats. In 1963, the schedule was changed again into the current. At present, a big parade holds on the first day (Friday); the dancers of Binzasara-mai Dance, Teko-mai Dance, Shirasagi-no-mai Dance and so on are marching around the whole Asakusa, guided by the music of Japanese orchestra and the song of scaffolds. On the second day (Saturday), the parade of about 100 small Mikoshi made by each town of Asakusa holds, and three large Mikoshi (Ichino-miya, Ninomiya and San-no-miya) are carried around 44 towns of Asakusa on the final day (Sunday).
How to get to Asakusa Shrine?
Asakusa is served by the Ginza Subway Line, Asakusa Subway Line, Tsukuba Express and Tobu Railways. It can also be accessed by the Tokyo Water Bus.
From Tokyo Station
Take the JR Yamanote Line to Kanda Station (2 minutes, 140 yen) and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa (10 minutes, 170 yen).
From Shinjuku Station
Take the orange JR Chuo Line to Kanda Station (10 minutes, 170 yen) and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa (10 minutes, 170 yen).
- A lovely shrine
- Great traditional temple
- So much to see and do
- The largest Temple complex in Tokyo
- Really nice atmosphere!
Asakusa Shrine 2-3-１ Asakusa Taito, Tokyo 111-0032 Japan
Tips for you
Sanja Matsuri Festival, the biggest of Tokyo's three great festivals on May 18-20, 2012.
Thoroughly enjoyed a visit to the temple - complete with an English speaking guide (free!) for 1.15 hrs. It was a bright sunny (but cold) morning, with the tour starting at 11am. Details can be had from the tourist office bang in front of the temple complex. Brightly and colourfully decorated art & craft shops line the passage (through a giant door) leading upto the very impressive temple. Apparently this temple goes back 1300yrs, but the current structure is not that old. Has been built and re-built several times, now the roof is in fact made of "titanium"! The huge incense stick drum lets out a soothing smell in the air .. and the add to the lovely sounds of the chattering devotees! Enjoy your day - whether for making wishes for your near and dear ones, a simple "touristy" walk ..