Sensoji Temple: Ancient Japanese Temple In Asakusa, Tokyo
Sensoji Temple in the Asakusa district is an entire building complex with Japanese style gates, a 5 story pagoda, and a huge main temple building that you can go inside.
If you’re looking for the biggest and best temple to see in Tokyo, this is it! It’s also fairly easy to reach from any part of the city center.This travel guide will explain how to get there, and everything you need to know before you go!
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History Of The Temple
Senso-ji Temple was built in 645 AD, making it the oldest temple in Tokyo.
The original building was destroyed in the firebombing of Tokyo in World War II, so the current temple is a reconstruction, but it still looks just as impressive as it did back in the day!
Today, Sensoji is one of the most visited religious site in the world, bringing in over 30 million people per year.
Visiting Sensoji Temple
The first thing greeting you when you arrive at Sensoji is an oversized Torri gate with a massive red paper lantern. This is a popular photo spot, but it’s also the most crowded.
You’ll get much better photo ops later. The paper lantern is cool, but there’s another one later on at the main temple that is just as big.
The approach to the temple takes you through a street lined with almost 100 souvenir and snack shops.
It might sound kind of like a tourist trap, but most of these shops date back to the 1700s, and it was actually some of the best shopping I found during my time in Tokyo.
The shops sell everything from A to Z. Paper fans, kimonos, straw sandals, Japan fridge magnets, Godzilla boxers, minion keychains, and of course just about every kind of Japanese candy imaginable. The strawberry Mochi is where it’s at!
At the end of the street you’ll reach the main temple and pagoda.
The pagoda has 5 stories and it’s pretty nice in its own right, but you can’t go inside, just admire and take some pics from below.
The main temple at Sensoji is massive and you can go inside for free, but you’ll have to wait in line.
Photos aren’t allowed on the inside, and it doesn’t take very long to stroll through, but it’s still worth a look. The outside of the main temple is my favorite photo spot.
The scale of the main building is crazy and it almost reminded me of Todaiji Temple in Nara. You can look back at the previous gate from here too and take some cool pictures of that.
All in all, you could easily spend 1 or 2 hours exploring everything at Sensoji Temple. In my opinion it’s one of the best free things to do in Tokyo!
Sensoji At Night
After dark, the whole Sensoji temple complex is lit up and makes for some great night photos.
The entrance to go inside the main hall is closed at night, but you can still explore the rest of the temple grounds and it’s free to enter, just like in the day time.
This is a great time to get some unique photos of the temple when the crowds are a lot smaller.
Hours & Entrance Fees
- Summer Hours: 6 AM – 5 PM (April to September)
- Winter Hours: 6:30 AM – 5 PM (October to March)
- Days: Open Every Day
- Admission: Free
(The hours above are just for going inside the main hall of the temple. The rest of the temple grounds are open 24/7, and the buildings are lit up after dark)
How To Get To Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple is located in the Taito ward, near central Tokyo.
Using the rail network, Sensoji is easy to reach from most parts of Tokyo.
The temple is just a short walk from Asakusa Station.
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