Thank you so much for your participation in our tour in Asakusa on January 13. This is our first Asakusa tour in 2019. We welcomed five people from Australia and Italy. I hope all of you enjoyed our walking tour in spite of the congestion of the worshippers visiting Sensoji Temple in the New Year period. Another walking tour at Ueno Park in Tokyo is scheduled on February 11 which will be referred at the end.
Komagatado Hall is a vermillion building located within 7 to 8 minutes walk from Sensoji Temple Kaminari-mon gate to the southern edge of Asakusa beside the Sumida River. It is the spot where the principal image of Buddhist Kannon, Goddess of Mercy housed at the Sensoji Temple main hall was discovered by the two fishermen in the Sumida River and pulled up on land about 1400 years ago. Apparently Komagatado Hall is standing at the birthplace of Sensoji Temple.
The original building was built over a thousand years ago. During the Edo period the port was congested with ferryboats for pilgrims visiting Sensoji Temple every day from the early morning because its main gate is said to be located around the place. Before heading for Sensoji, the visitors paid tribute to Komagatado Hall. In fact this was the starting point of Sensoji pilgrimage. The entrance of the building originally faced the river but while the building was repeatedly fired like the buildings of Sensoji, the front door began to face behind the river over time. The current building was reconstructed in 2003.
Komagatado literally means a horse-shaped hall leading to the name of Komagata bridge within a stone’s throw and the nearby town. The enshrined image is Bato Kannon which means horse-headed Bodhisattva of Compassion holding a horse’s head on its head like a crown. Since horses were important for farming and an essential means of transportation in old times, the Bodhisattva is regarded as the god of traffic safety and beneficial to safe journey. If you are around Asakusa or the Sumida river area, it is highly recommendable to drop in Komagatado Hall.
PS TFWT will have another walking tour at Ueno Park starting on February 11. Ueno Park is one the first Japanese public parks and full of tourist attractions including trees, museums, monuments, statues, temples and shrines. It is known for the most popular spot for cherry-blossom viewing in Tokyo in spring but is beautiful no matter what season of the year you visit. The tour will be held on a trial basis for the time being. Please visit our website and click the tour calendar for details. We will be looking forward to seeing you in Ueno as well.
(posted by Yoshi)