Last Sunday I ventured out on my own to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa- it's the largest and most famous temple in Tokyo. To get there, you first walk through Nakamise- a long shopping street with vendors of all sorts selling souveniers, kimonos, food, and weird touristy items. I tried to just walk straight through telling myself I could browse on the way back. Although I did stop and buy a hot, fresh off the griddle, rice cake basted in soy sauce for 50 cents. It was awesome.
Upon entering through the main gate, there is a whole grounds area with different buildings: the 5-story pagoda which is an architectural beauty, the main hall which unfortunately the outside was having work done, the Sensoji shrine, the gardens and other small shrines. It was a calming time I had to myself, and I felt holy in a good way. I was able to see the monks praying and to get some insight into the religious aspect of the Japanese culture, though they aren't too religious. All sorts of people come and stop by, wafting in the incense (the whole area smelled amazing of incense) for good luck, and washing their hands and drinking the holy water.
After observing for a few minutes, I decided to splash my hands with the holy water too, though no drinking for me haha. I got another fortune as it is the thing to do, and it was another good one. It's kind of funny how the Japanese doesn't quite translate literally word-for-word into the English version so the fortunes are kind of disjointed and you have to make sense of it. But they're more wise, proverbial ones. And on the way back I took my time as I had nowhere to be and the whole afternoon to myself, I perused the shops and vendors on Nakamise street.Check out my gallery for all the pictures as I took quite a few.
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