One of my favorite Tokyo site-seeing adventures was a trip to Asakusa. This is Tokyo's working class district. And it trends less toward skyscrapers and more toward hidden alleyways with lots of small local shops that charm and enchant.
At the heart of Asakusa is Senso-Ji, a temple which enshrines a golden statue of Kannon. That statue was fished from the nearby Sumida river by two fisherman in 628 AD. Although most of the structure isn't that old. One thing you learn about Japan is that just about everything has been rebuilt thanks to fires and earthquakes continually destroying things.
I'd heard this shrine can be unpleasant due to the huge crowds. But we got there early on a Monday morning and it was sparsely attended, mostly by the locals going about their daily routine. Many of the shops hadn't even opened. So I found it delightfully peaceful.
Here are a few photos:
I particularly like the two girls in this photo on their way to school. They're dressed in adorable uniforms. That's half the fun of Japan, seeing all the different school uniforms.
Here are few of the other sights at Senso-Ji:
For 200 Yen, you could shake a wooden box and release a metal rod on which was written a number in Japanese characters. By matching that number with the same number of one of these wooden drawers you could find your fortune.
My fortune was surprisingly reassuring: "No. 33 REGULAR FORTUNE; When spring comes, withered tree blooms so charming. The sweet smell fills in the wood field and the sky. Your fortune will go developing your chance. The bright moon comes to shine among the fading clouds. Meeting a person of high social status, his help will bring you a happy."
"*Your request will be granted. *The patient get well soon. *The lost article will be found. *The person you wait for will come. *Building a new house and removal are both well. *Marriage and employment are both well. *To start a trip is well."
I don't know about you, but I'm for anyone or anything that will "bring me a happy." And thank god that building a new house and removal are both well!
Felix, who was having a couple of rough days in Japan, didn't fare so well with his fortune. So he just kept trying until he got something more positive. Maybe he'll include the contents of his multiple fortunes in the comments of this post.
There's a delightful shopping street that leads to the shrine. We spent a few moments here browsing the touristy trinkets and Japanese snacks.
There was also an amazing little bakery where we stopped for breakfast. I was just getting ready to make a photo essay of the shop when our visit was cut short. You can ask Felix about that. But I did take one photo of the delicious baked goods in production.