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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 30 July, 2023
Expert travel writer: Rob Goss

First built in the 600s to house a statue of Kannon said to have been fished out of the nearby Sumida River by two brothers.

Today, Sensoji in Asakusa is one of Tokyo’s most important and liveliest temples, dedicated to the Bodhisattva of compassion.

It’s also its oldest and most visited – it’s one of the world’s most widely visited spiritual sites with an estimated 30 million visitors a year.

The stall-lined approach is a bit touristy, but if you had time for just one temple in Tokyo, the giant gateways, five-storied pagoda, and vast main hall here make Sensoji the best choice.

Look out for the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the temple’s outer gate, as you go in.

While you’re there

You’ll only need an hour here, but after that Asakusa’s backstreets are also worth a walk to soak up a retro Tokyo vibe.

Three other major sightseeing spots – Ueno’s museums, the atmospheric neighbourhood of Yanaka and Kappabashi’s kitchen street – are also nearby.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
Frequency: annually
When: March, May and Sept
Duration: 2-3 hours

Getting there & doing it

The entrance to the Sensoji Temple is just metres away from Asakusa Station (Ginza, Asakusa and Tobu Railways).

When to do it

The temple is open all year round, seven days a week. It’s good year-round, but always busy – 30 million visitors a year is one estimate. Come in the morning and avoid weekends to miss the worst crowds.

Destination guides

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