If Europe has its cathedrals, Asia has its temples. This is why a trip to Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without visiting at least one of its famous shrines.
During my trip to Tokyo last year, I visited Meiji Shrine. This year, we decided to go to Sensō-ji, a popular Buddhist temple located at Asakusa. Comparing the two, I prefer Senso-ji. Maybe because the old town vibe of Asakusa is so endearing. I’m really a sucker for old towns with traditional architecture (which you might’ve noticed in my travel diaries about Europe). There are just so much more stories to tell and things to explore.
I felt like I was transported back to the olden times, especially with these man-powered vehicles or jinrikisha scattered around Asakusa. They offer short and long tours around town.
This is the Kaminari Gate or Kaminarimon built 1000 years ago as the symbol of Asakusa. It is the first gate you’ll see before you reach the Sensō-ji Temple.
If you stand below the huge lantern-like sign, this is what you’ll see. Isn’t it so intricate? The craftsmanship is amazing!
This is how the jinrikisha is ridden. If I ride this, I’d probably feel like royalty!
While on the way to the temple, we passed by Shin-Nakamise or “New Nakamise”, a covered shopping arcade full of traditonal shops and restaurants like this.
Once you walk past the first gate or Kaminarimon, you’ll see another shopping street called Nakamise. The Nakamise shopping street is approximately 250 meters long and leads straight to the main grounds of Sensō-ji Temple. Understandably, this street gets really crowded, as you can see above.
Nakamise Shopping Street is lined with more than 50 shops like this one. Most of the shops sell touristy items, souvenirs and local specialties.
You’ll also find a lot of street food along Nakamise. I don’t know what these are though. My friend, Laureen, bought them for us. All I know is, they’re super delicious! They might be crab cakes topped with sweet sauce.
Our new found friend, Indonesian beauty blogger Stella, bought this candy-coated banana to munch on. As you can see, the selection of street food on Nakamise is quite diverse!
Finally passed the second gate. That’s the Sensō-ji Temple right there.
Here we are, standing in front of the second gate or Hozo Gate.
This is how the Sensō-ji Temple looks like inside.
From what I observed, visitors throw coins at that area in front of the encased shrine and then proceed to pray, very much like how it works at Meiji Shrine and most Buddhist temples.
I’m assuming these are prayers from visitors.
Because the Tokyo Skytree is just nearby, you can see it clearly from the temple. It’s that really tall gray structure that looks a little bit like Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Radio Tower, except less colorful.
After our tour around Asakusa, our next schedule was to attend the Tokyo Runway show at Yoyogi National Gymnasium (which is near Meiji Shrine). We did a complete 180°–coming from a cultural experience of Tokyo’s traditional aspect to an equally exciting experience of Tokyo’s latest fashion trends.
Tokyo Runway is an event held twice a year in Tokyo. It features the latest fashionable but affordable streetwear from over 30 brands and modeled by hundreds of top models and popular TV personalities on the runway. Because of this, over 15,000 young girls attend Tokyo Runway each time, resulting to it being dubbed as one of the best “real clothes fashion show” in Asia. Tokyo Runway is more than just a show, however. Aside from the fashion shows, there are lot of entertaining event booths by sponsors as well where visitors can have the chance to take photos with top models and get some product samples.
Since I wasn’t allowed to take photos of the fashion show itself, I just sneakily took photos of random people outside instead. LOL!
I did manage to snap a photo of the stage before I got reprimanded though. Tada!
Hopefully, I’ll get to attend more shows in Japan in the future. These ninja photos will do for now.