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We made our itinerary for the day to go to Sensō-ji, part of the Asakusa area of Tokyo.Sensō-ji is Tokyo’s oldest temple. Asakusa is a more suburban area and you aren’t dwarfed by towering skyscrapers. On the Ginza subway line, Asakusa is the end of that line (not hard to figure where to get off 😉) and only about 22 minutes from our hotel. It’s a cool, clear, but windy day.
Asakusa is noted as the home to the Sensō-ji Buddhist temple. From the subway, it is a short walk to the entrance to the temple entrance. As you walk closer to the temple, you’re presented with a rather large number of (YouTube link) small shops in stalls along the main entrance walkway.
Prior to even getting close to the shrines, after walking past all the small shops, you find areas where people are getting Omikuji, which are small strips of paper which contain your fortune. To get your fortune, you donate a 100 ¥ (less than $1) into a long tube, then shake the tube for a bit until a small stick comes out. You take the number that’s on the stick and find the corresponding strip of paper (Omikuji) from the appropriate numbered drawer (there’s a small wall of them). The contents of that Omikuji tells your future. Though there are 7 types of fortunes you might receive, if you receive one with bad fortunes, you tie it onto the rods on a nearby rack and leave it there so your bad fortune doesn’t follow you home. If it’s a good fortune, you take the slip of paper home with you.
Closer to the temples, there are large cauldrons where incense and prayers to the gods are being burned. People wave the smoke all over themselves because it is said if you get the smoke from the incense burner on your body’s bad parts, you will be given divine blessing.
Surrounding the temple structures are extremely well tended gardens with statues, small streams with koi ponds.
While the crowds are definitely present, once you make your way into the gardens, it’s very peaceful and quiet.
We decided to start back to the hotel and the subway since it’s Friday and rush hour on the subway isn’t pretty.