Asakusa-Jinja (Asakusa Shrine)
Good for: food, Photography, culture, souvenirs, Japanese History
- 2-3-1 Asakusa Taitō-ku
- admission free
Lonely Planet review for Asakusa-Jinja (Asakusa Shrine)
The proximity of this Shintō shrine, behind Sensō-ji and to the right, testifies to the coexistence of Japan’s two major religions. Asakusa-jinja was built in honour of the brothers who discovered the Kannon statue and is renowned as a fine example of an architectural style called gongen-zukuri. It’s also the epicentre of one of Tokyo’s most important festivals, the Sanja Matsuri, a three-day extravaganza of costumed parades, some 100 lurching mikoshi (portable shrines) and stripped-to-the-waist yakuza sporting remarkable tattoos. Niten-mon, thegate that marks one of the entryways to Asakusa-jinja, was erected in 1618 as a private entrance to the temple for the Tokugawa shōgun. The gate was built here at the same time as Tōshō-gū, which burned at this location and was moved to Ueno for fire prevention. The gate’s weathered wooden pillars, plastered with votive papers left by Shintō pilgrims, and its enormous red paper lantern certainly merit a stop on your way out of the compound. Remarkably, Niten-mon is the only structure in the temple precinct to have survived Asakusa’s various disasters.