Our Trip to Japan
Our First Day in Tokyo
A visit to Shinjuku
On to Asakusa
Hakone and Mount Fuji
Odawara Castle
We arrive in Kyoto
Kyoto - Sanjusangen-do and Kinkaku-ji Temple
Kyoto - Kiyomizu-dera Temple

On to Asakusa

Saturday - May 11, 2002

Kyoto - Gion Shimabara
Kyoto - Nijo-jo Castle
Kyoto - Arashiyama
Kyoto - Shijo-kawaramachi shopping district
Miyajima Island
Back to Tokyo
Kamakura and the Great Buddha

From Shinjuku, we took a subway to Asakusa, where we entered the Shin Nakamise shopping mall.


Here we found dozens, maybe even hundreds of little shops selling all sorts of food and merchandise. There was even a McDonalds as you can see to the right.

One of the shops was selling these little pastries that were baked right on the spot. In the center ring are these little circular molds. The baker fills the mold with batter and then it circles around the middle ring (the white cakes). Then a little paddle automatically flips the cakes and they make their final circle on the outer ring (the brown cakes). These were very sweet and delicious.

The sign indicates that the cakes are 3 for 200 yen. At the time of our visit, the exchange rate was about 1 dollar US to 125 yen. So that works out to about $1.60 US.


Connecting to Shin Nakamise was Nakamise street with even more shops. The main picture is looking towards the Hozomon gate and the mouse over picture is looking back to Shin Nakamise.

Jennifer's head is just peeking above the center display as she shopped in this little store of chopsticks, fans and other souvenirs.

The mouse over photo shows us getting closer to the Hozomon gate.


As we continued down Nakamise, we came to the Hozomon gate which leads to the Senso-ji Temple

On the mouse over picture, you can see a five-story pagoda to the left of the gate.


Here we stand next to one of the two Nio gods who defend the temple from evil. They bear angry expressions in order to frighten away the evil spirits. One has its mouth open to signify the beginning of all things and one has its mouth closed to signify the end.

Through the entrance, you can see the Senso-ji Temple itself with a giant paper lantern over the entrance. This temple is considered to be one of the oldest in Tokyo.


Once inside the gate, we entered the temple courtyard. Here we see the back of the Hozomon gate. In the center of the courtyard is a giant incense burner. You burn sticks of incense and then wave the aromatic smoke over your body and head for good luck. Also note the two giant sandals on either side of the entrance.

There was an adorable scene there where a father was holding his little girl in his arms next to the urn and the little girl used both hands to scoop the smoke over her dad first before doing so to herself.

Inside the temple courtyard you can purchase fortunes. There are dozens of little drawers on a wall. Next to the drawers is a canister filled with numbered sticks. You shake the canister until a single stick falls out. Then you match the number on the stick to a drawer. In the drawer is a sheet of paper with your fortune. The fortunes can range from Best Luck all the way down to Worst Luck. If you are unfortunate enough to draw a bad luck fortune, you can tie it to the rod as Jennifer is doing. At the end of the day, the Buddhist monks will burn the fortunes and offer prayers which will cancel the bad luck.

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