Tokyo Travels Part 16: Sensoji Temple and Nakamise-dori

After the Sumida River Cruise, we planned to visit the Sensoji Temple at the end of Nakamise-dori in Asakusa.

The plan did not quite work out.  We happen to be there on the last day of the Sanja-Matsuri festival, one of the three biggest festivals in Tokyo each year.  I suppose it's like trying to walk through Rockefeller Center on December 23.  With enough time and dedication you can do it, but it's not for the timid or those with a deadline.

The festival celebrates the founders of the Buddhist Sensoji Temple -- three fishermen who found a golden statue in the Sumida River.  The fesitval brings out people, music, and portable shrines from throughout the area.  You can learn more about it on Wikipedia.

It was an exciting afternoon, and I am still blown away by the crowds.

The temple is at the far end of Nakamise-dori (or Nakamise Street). The street is lined with permanent vendors who sell snacks and souvenirs to the visitors.  We made it only part way down the street when we visited with the tour.

Music played, people hoisted shrines, and Japanese visitors took pictures of one another flashing peace signs.

We started to walk through the main gate, but after a while we diverted through one of the side streets.  This video will give you a taste of the crowd. To shoot most of it, I put the video camera on a monopod, and held it way above my head.  The video is 5:36.

You can also see the video here.

I shot nearly 30 minutes of video.  You can see the raw, unedited footage here in Part 1 and Part 2

These are just a few of the pictures we took that afternoon.

Some of the temples and drums sets were built to be pulled/played by children.

Two days later, we went back.  The crowds were much thinner and we could see more of this important structure.

Of course, Denny's is nearby if you need a Grand Slam.

There were definitely a lot of shops.

Do you think this shop is targeting the locals or Western tourists?

The scale of the commercial operation contrasted with the peace of the Buddhist Shrine, but the two certainly coexisted.

As we headed back to the train, we couldn't help but smile when we saw this guy on the roof.

For more pictures of our trip to Asakusa and to Tokyo in general, click here.  I'll be adding more to the set over the next few months.

For more posts about our this trip to Tokyo, click here.

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