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Sensoji Temple tour

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I wanted to try a cone of the multi-colored ice cream from one of the stalls and lick it on the way back to our assembly place but changed my mind when I saw the sign “Don’t eating the street.” Okay.

By Raquel C Bagnol

TOKYO, JAPAN—at the northern part of Tokyo is Sensoji Temple, an impressive Buddhist temple which is among Tokyo’s oldest and most famous temples. Built sometime in the 7th century, the temple attracts hundreds of tourists and worshippers from all over the world each day.

I was with a group of kids from Saipan who were in Tokyo for the annual Awaodori Festival back in 2010 (yeah and it took me 4 years to finally decide to post it. lol ) and the trip wouldn’t have been complete without visiting Sensoji Temple.

Arriving from the Asakusa subway station, we made our way to the Kiminarimon, or Thunder Gate, a majestic structure which serves as the entrance to the Sensoji Temple a few meters away.

Entering the Kiminarimon will lead you to the Asakusa Nakamise shopping arcade. Here is a street buzzing with the never-ending click of cameras from people of different colors and sizes and shapes speaking different languages from all over the world.

I squeezed my way around, merging with the tourists and locals, clicking my cameras and missing the chance to sample the Japanese delicacies.

Just before going up to the Sensoji temple is a huge bronze incense burner where the smoke wafting from the burning incense sticks are supposed to bring good luck.

A few feet away is a fountain of water with dragons spitting out water. Sawada-san and Misako-san, our chaperones, told us to use the ladles to transfer water from the fountain and rinse both hands or mouth and spit the water for purification and cleansing rites just before going to the temple. I skipped the ritual because I couldn’t risk getting my cameras wet.

I savored it all—the sight of the five-storied pagoda standing proudly beside the main temple, the flickering candles worshippers lighted inside the temple, the chanting, clouds of smoke from the incense burner, the splashing of water from the cleansing fountain, the lively trade going on at Asakusa Nakamise shopping street, the vendors calling out customers to buy their wares, pigeons flying around, and tourists taking photos of everything and anything.

I wanted to try a cone of the multi-colored ice cream from one of the stalls and lick it on the way back to our assembly place but changed my mind when I saw the sign “Don’t eating the street.” Okay. I’m obedient.

The only souvenir I took home was a pack of fake cigarettes which I bought for 399 yen, a reminder of a colorful afternoon at the Sensoji temple grounds.

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