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Recommendation course

Taito city Course (Asakusa)

Walking around Senso-ji Temple

Main Hall of Senso-ji Temple

Main Hall of Senso-ji Temple


Five-storied pagoda in Senso-ji Temple

The beginning of Senso-ji Temple is said as follows: in 628, HINOKUMA no Hamanari and his brothers Takenari found a small statue of Buddha in their casting net at Miyato-gawa River (current Sumida-gawa River). When HAJI no Nakatomo recognized the statue as Sho-kanzeon Bosatsu, Bodhisattva Kannon, he became a monk and remade his residence into a temple.

In the medieval period, the estate of the temple had been gradually expanded by the donations from dominant figures, such as MINAMOTO no Yoritomo and ASHIKAGA Takauji. In the Edo period, the temple was designated as Kiganjo of shogunate (the temple for the TOKUGAWA Clan to pray) by the first shogun TOKUGAWA Ieyasu and had been heavily protected. However, when the head monk Chuun was removed from his position because he broke a taboo of the 5th shogun Tsunayoshi, Senso-ji Temple was put under the control of Kan'ei-ji Temple.

After establishing as a popular place of worship among the commonpeople, Senso-ji Temple came to be one of the well-known sights in Edo, where many tea-houses opened in the precincts and show booths stood side by side. It is said that Nakamise Street, which is the most popular sightseeing spot in Asakusa today, begun when neighbors were permitted to open temporary shops around 1685, instead of sweeping in the precincts.

In the Meiji period, waves of modernization also arrived at Senso-ji Temple, where a railroad for horsecar was laid on the street in front of Kaminari-mon Gate and Western-style brick buildings were built along Nakamise Street. The old townscape of Asakusa in the Edo period got a big damage from the Great Kanto Earthquake and all structures of the temple, and were burned down in the Great Tokyo Air Raids without Denbo-in Temple, Niten-mon Gate and Asakusa Shrine.

After only three months from the end of the war, the temporary main building (current Awashima-do) was built on the ruins of the previous, and the principal image evacuated into the earth rested there. The current main building, Kaminari-mon Gate and Hozo-mon Gate (former Nio-mon Gate) were rebuilt one after another in the thirties of the Showa period. The five-storied pagoda was also reconstructed in 1973, though on the different place from the previous. Senso-ji Temple becomes the present state in this way.

Map of Senso-ji Temple

1 Senso-ji Niten-mon (Niten-mon Gate)

National Cultural Important Properties (Buildings)
Designated on November 29, 1946

Niten-mon Gate in Senso-ji Temple


This is called
Mitsumune-zukuri style, because it looks like having three ridges of roof.

Senso-ji Temple has suffered a lot of calamities in its long history. The temple buildings were burned down twice during the Kan'ei era in the early Edo period. As a consequence, Tosho-gu Shrine in the temple was relocated to Momiji-yama Hill in Edo Castle in 1636.

It is said that Niten-mon Gate originally used to be the gate of that Tosho-gu Shrine. The original gate was built in 1618, but the current is estimated to be rebuilt in 1649.

By the Ordinance Distinguishing Shinto and Buddhism in 1868, the accompanied sculptures with the gate were changed two gods of Shinto to two Buddhist gods Komoku-ten and Jikoku-ten, who are the guardian gods of the west and the south in Buddhism, were dedicated by Tsurugaoka Hachimang. Shrine in Kamakura. Therefore, the gate was renamed to Niten-mon.

Niten-mon Gate has a quite massive structure with eight pillars and a width of 8.13 meters at the beam. The roof with formal tiles is made in the Kiritsuma-zukuri style. The gate itself is built in the Mitsumune-zukuri style, which is one of the gate style hanging two roof-like triangular ceilings in the front and rear of the gate. Because it looks like having three ridges of roof, the style is called "Mitsumune-zukuri" ("Mitsumune" means three ridges). This style was frequently adopted by the structures in relation to the Tokugawa shogunate, such as Ky. Taitoku-in Reibyo So-mon Gate (built in 1632, in Minato City). The gate is entirely coated with red painting, but these red-colors are different according to parts; the lower part is lacquered by blackish Indian red and the upper part is painted with red lead of a light orange color.

Opening Information of the Senso-ji Temple

Opening Days:
All year
Opening Times:
All day
ToiletsAccessible facility