The oldest temple in the city of Tokyo and the most visited spiritual place in the world, with more than 30 million visitors a year is the important Buddhist temple “Sensoji”, located in the traditional Asakusa district.
The history of this temple dates back to 628, when the Hinokuma brothers found a statue of the goddess Kannon, goddess of piety in the Buddhist pantheon, in the Sumida River. The brothers took the statue to the home of the village chief and explained what had happened.
Hajino Nakamoto, then the governor of what we now know as Asakusa, realized that this statue was sacred and had been sent by the gods to protect the village. Therefore, the governor remodeled his own house and in the center of the village the kannon temple was founded, this was the base of today’s “Sensoji”, becoming the oldest temple in Tokyo.
In the Edo period, this temple grew and became the meeting place for the citizens of Asakusa. The Tokugawa clan itself gave him protection.
At the end of the Edo Period, many shops were formed near the temple to support the economic growth of the city, but by the Meiji period the entire area of the market, today called “Nakamise Dori”, was remodeled in Western style. Unfortunately with the great earthquake in Tokyo the stores were seriously affected.
The entire compound was rebuilt again and was completed in 1925. Very sadly, the United States Air Force had no compassion for the cultural, spiritual and historical heritage of the “Sensoji”, being on March 10, 1945 brutally bombed until it was ashes. At the end of the war, all the villagers set out to rebuild the temple again, and they did.
The temple was one of the first in all of Japan to be rebuilt after the war, becoming the symbol of hope for the people of Tokyo, the symbol of rebuilding after the stormy war.
In 2012 it was completed in the vicinity of the temple “Sensoji”, the highest tower in the world called “Tokyo Sky Tree”. Nowadays when arriving at the Sensoji you can appreciate this magnificent contrast in the oldest temple in Tokyo and in the background the most modern tower in the world. Today the temple is visited by a large number of international tourists and in the new “Nakamise Dori” you can find typical objects of Japanese culture, such as T-shirts or flags of the country. The Sensoji enclosures can also be visited at night, combining a magical and spiritual atmosphere that makes you understand the greatness of Japanese spirituality.