Written by Shirley T
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 00:00
Nestled within the premise of a Buddhist temple lies a famous Shinto Shrine named Sanja-sama, or Temple of Three Gods.
Known to many as Asakusa Shrine or Asakusajinja, it was constructed by Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1694 to honor the three founders of Sensoji Temple - the fisherman brothers Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari who caught the golden Kannon statue from Sumida River. The shrine is also dedicated to Hajino Nakatomo, the village headman who enshrined the Kannon and turned his home into a Buddhist temple. In short, Asakusa Shrine was built in order to worship these men as deities.
Located on the east of Sensoji's Main Hall, Asakusa Shrine is easily differentiated with its large stone torii
(Shinto gate) that leads the way into the shrine from Nitenmon or 'Gate of Two Ten'. Boasting the gongen-zukuri style of architecture representing early Edo Period, Asakusa Shrine is one of the structures which survived Tokyo raids in 1945. It was also designated as an important cultural asset to the nation in 1951.
The most popular festival celebrated at Asakusa Shrine is Sanja Matsuri. As an annual celebration held on the third weekend of May, Sanja Matsuri festival is held to honor the three men that established Sensoji - Hinokuma Hamanari, Hinokuma Takenari and Hajino Nakatomo. Large scale parades, traditional music, dances, Geisha shows and taiko performances are among the activities lined up over three days. Despite it is originally a religious festival, Sanja Matsuri is celebrated in a wild manner, so anticipate busy street with giant crowds and lasting loud music.
Asakusa Shrine sits on the east of Sensoji's Main Hall.
Get off at Asakusa subway station (Ginza Line or Tobu Line), 100 m walk towards west along Kaminari Mon Street.
Shrine grounds: Always open (365 days)
2-26-1, Asakusa, Taito-ku
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