Senso-ji, also called Asakusa Kannon Temple, is one of the largest and most important temples in Tokyo. The original temple was completed in 645 AD and protects a golden statue of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of compassion and mercy.
According to legend, the statue of Kannon was pulled out of the river by a trio of brothers while they were fishing. It was then enshrined by a local merchant which laid the foundations of Senso-ji. You can approach the temple via Kaminarimon, a magnificent gate flanked by statues of Raijin, the God of Thunder, and Fujin, the God of Wind. Stop to watch smoke furling out of the enormous incense cauldron.
Access to Senso-ji is via Nakamise, a 200-metre-long shopping street lined with colourful souvenir shops and street-food stalls. Senso-ji is a popular temple and can get busy on the weekends. To beat the crowds, consider visiting in the evening when the gates and buildings are beautifully lit up.
Senso-ji is located in the Asakusa district of Tokyo, a short walk from Asakusa Station on the Ginza Subway Line and Asakusa Subway Line. Tokyo International Airport is a 30-minute drive away.