asakusa jinja

3

This straw circle is called a chinowa kuguri (茅の輪くぐり). It’s part of a purification ritual that you see at most major shrines during the New Year’s period. Stand in front of the circle, walk through it towards your left, return to the front, walk through it again towards your right. The white papers tied to the straw are called shide (紙垂), and are meant to prevent impurities from entering the sacred space. I took these photos at Ootori Jinja (鷲神社) in Asakusa.

flickr

Sensoji_浅草寺_3 by hans-johnson
Via Flickr:
Senso-ji Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan 浅草寺 日本国 東京都 台東区 浅草

March 17th

Today I spend my time in Asakusa and Sumida. I jogged a short time in the morning (would have been a longer run, if I’d had chosen the right way but I didn’t and so I ended up jogging through the city…)
Still I found my way back and took a gorgeous hot bath in the onsen once again.
Afterwards I decided to start my look around the part of Tokyo. My way brought me to the Sensoji-Temple and Asakusa Jinja-Shrine, from which I got immediately to the Nakamise-Dori and at the end of this street of tourist attractions and souvenir shops and food stores (I bought a melon pan) there was the Kaminari-mon (Thunder Gate) with it’s huge lantern. On the other side of the street, I found the Asakusa culture tourist information centrum. The house looked really nice and they had a lot of information and guide books in many different languages as well.
Standing in front of this building, I could already get a look at Sumida River and the building of Asashi Breweries LTD. I just stepped by and did not take a look at the cafè or the place where you can try the beer inside yet.
From there I walked at the riverside in north-east direction to get to the Mukojima Hyakkaen Garden. Near the river were the first sakura trees which were in bloom.
As I arrived at the Garden, I found out that it has an entrance fee, so I decided to just have a look at it from outside the railing and then moved back.
On my way to this park, I met a very nice man who talked with me even though he could barely understand English as well as I could barely understand Japanese. So it was a little hard but still fun to talk to him. When I was on my way back from the park, He recognized me immediately and we chatted again a little.
Then I walked towards the Tokyo Skytree. I did not pay attention for which street I should choose because such a huge building can hardly be missed. Still the distance was quite far so it took me around 1 ½ hours to finally get there, but it was really worth it. Even though I did not drive to it’s top but just had a look at it from he ground, there was very much other stuff to enjoy. Around the basis of he Tokyo Skytree is Tokyo Solamachi where you can find almost everything. There are clothes stores, food stores and Cafès as well as restaurants and the Sumida Aquarium. It really was amazing.
I had my lunch at that place in an Udon restaurant and decided for Pork Curry Udon with fried Chicken as extra.
When my stomach was full again, I used my time to have a look around and also found a small Ghibli store where I just shot the merch of my favorite Anime-Film: Howl’s Moving Castle.
With time passing by, I searched for my way back to the hotel and moved back.
But this is not the end of my day. I just stopped by for some internet connection so I could search the route to the Asakusa Amusement Hall (I need to go inside next time!) Right next to this hall you can find Marugoto Nippon, where very high quality articles from all over Japan were sold.
From this store, I headed to Ekimae but also just had a quick look on everything inside before returning to my hotel.
On my way back I jumped into a feast at the Sensoji Temple which was really amazing. When it was over, I continued my way until I finally arrived at my Hotel again.
After such a long day I really needed a second bath. Also this helped me to warm up a little again, since it got really cold outside during the feast.
Now I am ready to go to sleep and already really tired but excited for tomorrow as well~

5

Imado Jinja (今戸神社) in Asakusa is famous as an enmusubi ( 縁結び or えんむすび) shrine. A rough English translation would be “love knot” or “partner for life”. If you want that fateful encounter that will change your life, visit Imado Jinja. If you’ve already found your beloved, you can visit the shrine together to pray for continuing happiness.

The shrine is also alleged to be the birthplace of Japan’s beloved lucky cat, the manekineko. That, at least, is what locals believe. Here’s the legend: once upon a time, a long time ago, an old woman lived in Imado. She was so poor that she was forced to sell her beloved cat. One night the animal appeared to her in a dream, and told her to make and sell its image in clay. She listened to its advice, sold thousands of cat statues and became very wealthy.