Once-a-Year display : Replica of the Goddess of Mercy on December 13th. 


Many thanks for joining our tour in Asakusa on December 13th. We welcomed 19 people from Singapore, America, Mexico, Brazil, Sweden, UK and Spain. The weather was great in our favor in the beginning of winter. The Nakamise Shopping Street was lively and bustling as usual. We hope you enjoyed the walking tour with us. As mentioned, group and snap photos are posted.

As mentioned during the tour, Sensoji Temple houses the statues of the Goddess of Mercy and its replica at its main hall. The Goddess is a hidden statue but its replica is shown to the public only on December 13th when we had a tour.

According to the Sensoji legend, the temple was established in the year of 628 when the Goddess was discovered in the river. As soon as the Buddha statue was found, it was decided that the statue must be kept hidden from the public and has never been revealed with an exception. The rule is still effective until today.

Because people missed to visit the temple without an object, a worship replica was carved a high-ranking priest in the early Heian Period (794-1185). It’s not just a copy but represents the Goddess of Mercy. The substitute played an important role and the temple owed its development to the replica which to attract visitors. Without it, it couldn’t have thrived. The replica is shown to the public following the end-of-year house cleaning on every December 13th at 2pm. Many believers look forward to visiting Sensoji Temple and taking a glimpse of the statue on that day each year. In fact, the main hall was very crowded with visitors and believers, but the statue could clearly be seen from the outer sanctuary.

Since the original statue is hidden, there was constantly a rumor during the Edo period that there might be no statue. In modern times, there was a case that several people really saw a hidden statue. The three officers of the Meiji government(1868-1912) who overthrew the Edo government(1603-1868) came to Sensoji Temple to inspect the statue as soon as they took power. As a result, it has been proven that there was the hidden statue. It is said that the statue was wooden, fairly large and was partly damaged. Thereafter, something unfortunate happened. The three inspectors who came to the Temple for investigation reportedly died within a year.

After some time, Asakusa was devastated by air raids during WWⅡ. Although almost all the temple buildings including the main hall were destroyed, the original statue and its replica still in the cupboard had fortunately been evacuated and were safe.

The replica is shown to the public on behalf of the Goddess of Mercy once a year and will continue to take center stage. On the other hand, the original will probably be kept away from the public permanently. She will continue to extend rescue and mercy to everyone without discrimination regardless of their religions or the Buddhist sects.
Once again, thank you for choosing Tokyo Free Walking Tour. We hope that you enjoyed our tour and will join other TFWTs in the future!