Many thanks for joining our tour in Asakusa on Set. 27. We welcomed three people from Argentina and Italy. Weather was fine and pretty comfortable. Asakusa Streets were crowded with people despite a weekday.
Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest temple which attracts 30 million domestic and overseas visitors every year. The principal building is the main hall. It has been worshipped by many people for 1400 years and developed in spite of the repeated fires and destruction during WW2. The current building was reconstructed in 1958 after the war. Inside the hall the Buddhist statue, goddess of mercy is housed. Asakusa flourished thanks to this image. This is the treasure of the temple as well as Asakusa.
The gold statue was discovered by the two fishermen in the nearby Sumida River and protected by the village chief about 1,400 years ago. It is officially unknown where it came from but we can say that Buddhism quickly penetrated into the country just about 70 years after it was introduced into Japan from India via China.
Then a priest, founder of Sensoji Temple, Shokai Shonin built a Kannon-do Hall to enshrine the statue which later bacame Sensoji Temple. He decided as a devine message that the statue should be absolutely withheld from public view. Since then his rule remains in place until today and no one has ever been allowed to see it.
After that Ennin, the outstanding priest of Tendai School of Buddhism in the Heian period carved the substitute of the original statue and dislayed it to allow people to worship. This lead to the development of Sensoji Temple.
In Japan most of the hidden Buddhist statues are unveiled to the public on specific days but some including Sensoji Temple are strictly hidden from people due to the religious reasons. In stead the substitute is revealed to the public once a year or every several years. Sensoji Temple displays its replica to the public once a year on December 13. Zenkoji Temple in Nagano known for its historic Buddhist image exhibits its reproduction once every seven years.
Why don’t you come to Asakusa, go together to Sensoji Temple and pray. Joining your hands at the main hall will make you feel refreshed and restore a peaceful and comfortable state of feeling.
(posted by Yoshi)