Sensoji Temple (Sensō-ji) is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa neighborhood of Tokyo, Japan. It’s Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. In a city full of contemporary and cosmopolitan scenery, Sensoji serves as one of Tokyo’s traditional timestamps.
Legend says that in 628 AD, two brothers went fishing and caught a small statue Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy (and also the name for Canon camera), out of the Sumida River. Despite they put the statue back into the river, it would always return to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo’s oldest temple.
I took this photo after a boat ride on the Sumida River during my first visit to Japan. As you approach the temple from the Nakamise-dōri (a street lined with craft shops as your approach the temple), the first view of Sensoji is impressive and overwhelming. Once passed the enormous guardian figures, two enormous waraji (huge straw sandals) deck an interior wall of the temple. These enormous sandals are a symbol of blessing, as Buddhist believers would pray for protection to keep their feet healthy.
I’ve always had a bit of a shoe fetish (seriously), so I was naturally entranced by the enormous and ancientwaraji, and moved closer and closer to it until I was literally under it – making for an interesting perspective and a great photo opportunity. This is one of my personal favorite travel photos for its simplicity, timelessness, and jovial symbolism.
Sensoji Temple Sandal