When we visited Sensō-ji, we took the Ginza line to the Asakusa Station and walked about 10 minutes to the temple. When we arrived, we were across the street from the Kaminarimon, or “Thunder Gate,” which is the outer gate of two large gates that lead to the main temple.
Along the street were foot-cars parked where men in really short shorts were advertising tours. They would approach tourists and offer to take them around the area in their cars. While most would say no, they wouldn’t have a hard time finding more customers… the first gate is a popular tourist destination.
After we passed through the first gate we entered the Nakamise-dōri, where there were plenty of tourist shops selling trinkets and souvenirs.
We spent time poking into different shops, looking at fans, magnets, and hand-written scrolls. We ended up getting a magnet, then decided to make our way to the second gate that leads to the inner grounds. Known as the “Treasure House Gate,” once you pass through we saw a five-story pagoda building.
Around the inner grounds are o-mikuji stalls, where after a donation of 100 Yen you can consult the Oracle and divine for answers to their questions.
Before entering is a stall where multiple sticks of incense were burning. Upon observing other tourists, we learned that visitors are to take the smoke from the incense and fan it over their bodies heat to toe. Once we did that, we were able to visit Sensō-ji, the temple to the goddess of mercy.
Founded in 645 AD, Sensō-ji is the oldest temple in Tokyo. However, during World War II the temple was hit by a bomb and destroyed but was later rebuilt. Since then the temple has been a symbol of rebirth and peace.