Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Senso-ji in Asakusa

A couple more days and you'll be done with hearing from me daily. Until then, more about our trip to Tokyo.

From the Tokyo National Museum, we headed to Asakusa to check out the Senso-ji temple.

Senso-ji is Tokyo's oldest temple.

Bombed during World War II, the temple was rebuilt later as a symbol of the peace restored to Japan. The main hall and the pagoda are concrete replicas of the originals that burned down.

The walkway leading up to the temple is filled with shops selling souvenirs and snacks. It's a little unsettling at first to see so many vendors selling their overpriced wares outside of the temple, but then I remembered Piazza San Marco in Venice and many other Catholic churches surrounded by overpriced tourist trap shops, and I felt totally comfortable.

The temple is dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and people come from near and far to pay their respects to her by throwing coins and lighting candles.

Photographs hardly do this temple justice as the real experience is hearing the thrown coins and the clapping and watching the masses devoutly follow their rituals.

It was peaceful and lovely in a special sort of way that only the sound of coins being thrown at an altar and clapping echoing throughout a large concrete hall can be. But in its own way, it was.

After the temple, we headed to this crazy place (Robata Yaki) for dinner at our concierge's suggestion. (Oh, wow, concierges are so great, just ask Michael Scott!)

The food was excellent. Even this scary looking guy was tasty.

And Alex made a new friend.

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