Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Asakusa -Ronni Paine

Our day in Tokyo was spent in four separate groups touring various places throughout the city. At some point in the day we all went to Asakusa. In Asakusa we saw the Senso-ji temple and did a lot of shopping. We entered through the outer gate (Kaminarimon Gate or Furaijinmon Gate) which is marked by a giant red lantern and walked passed a lot of shops, mostly with souvenirs and some food vendors as well. Then we passed through another gate (Hozomon Gate or Niomon Gate) under another red lantern to the temple. The original hall, Kannondo Hall, was constructed in 645 but was destroyed in 1945 and reconstructed in 1958. In Japans history this temple was held in high esteem. During the Edo period the shogun Tokugawa declared in the temple where prayers for the aspirations of the shogunate would be offered. The temple became the center of Edo culture. Today, Senso-ji temple is still an important center of worship and receives about 30 million visitors each year.  


The lantern at the outer gate of the temple.


  The inner gate of the temple.


Kannondo Hall

After viewing the temple the shopping began! There were a ton of souvenirs to look at, especially little red lanterns on keychains and such, maneki-neko cats, chopsticks, and a ton of keychains, magnets and other souvenirs relating to Japan. Fortunately the prices were fairly consistent from shop to shop so we did not have to do a lot of shopping around for the best price. There were also a few food vendors on the main street. One had red and white paper bags that had some sort of food in them. The shop smelled good, and Kate and Jessie bought one red and one white bag. Inside were little pastries with some sweet brown stuff inside that was definitely not chocolate. Megumi told us it was anko, which is a bean paste. While bean paste may not sound appetizing to everyone, anko is delicious! I also tried another new food at the ice cream vendor- purple potato ice cream. We heard about it before coming on this trip and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try it, but I decided to give it a go. It was sweeter than I thought, and definitely tasted like potoato, yet somehow worked as an ice cream. If you ever get the chance to try it, I reccomend it.

The street full of vendors and shoppers.

Asakusa is definitely a great place to visit. The Senso-ji temple is an important part of their culture, and is beautiful the see. The shopping there is great as there is a wide variety of Japanese souvenirs, decently priced. It is also a great place to try a few new foods. So if you are ever in Japan, be sure to plan an afternoon in Asakusa!

~ Ronni Paine


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