Last Sunday Onisha and I visited two amazing temples in Tokyo. Lately we have been trying to see as much historical places as we can in Japan before we leave to our next country. Onisha and I are very fascinated by Japans integration of Buddhism and their everyday life. All over Japan are Temples and Shrines that are very old with very interesting histories. For me, one temple that I had to visit was Sengakuji. Sengakuji is famous for its graveyard where the 47 Ronin are buried. If you haven’t seen the latest movie 47 Ronin you should check it out. I love Japanese history and the 47 Ronin happens to be a true story minus Keanu Reeves.
When we arrived at the Temple there were not a lot of people which was great for me to take some photos uninterrupted by other tourists. The temple is small in comparison to others we have visited, but it was just as interesting with its history. Outside of the temple there is a large statue of Oishi the leader of the 47 Ronin and in the back is the famous graveyard and headstones of the masterless samurai.
Sengakuji 47 Ronin:
Sengakuji (泉岳寺) is a small temple near in Tokyo. “47 Ronin” (also known as Akoroshi, the “masterless samurai from Ako”) are buried.
The second temple we visited was Sensoji in an area of Tokyo called Asakusa. Sensoji is enormous compared to Sengakuji and had more people than I could count. Sensoji is a very old and popular temple in Japan. When arriving at Sensoji you are greeted with a giant gate and a large red lantern hanging in the middle. Once you walk through the gate it is a madhouse with people running all over the place going from one shop to another, along a path that leads you directly to the main hall. As Onisha and I got to the end of the path we witnessed a procession of kids, flute players and people in interesting costumes coming from the main hall. After the procession we made it to the main hall and attempted to take more photos, but there were so many people in the temple I could not get a good shot. Onisha pointed up and told me to look at the amazing paintings on the ceiling. The paintings must have been at least 20 feet wide and very colorful. All around us there were a lot of Japanese dressed in their komon – a casual Komono with a small, repeated pattern throughout the garment. It was nice to see them in their traditional clothes as it made the setting in the temple feel authentic and for a second not so touristy.
Sensoji (浅草寺, Sensōji, also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple) is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo’s oldest temple.