My trip to Tokyo Game Show 2016 wasn’t an entire nerd fest, if you can believe it. I took some time away from video games to go and do some things that actual tourists do! You know, travel! Take in the sights! See thing’s I’ll never see in other parts of the world. It’s called breaking out of your comfort zone and finding something amazing!
And with that, I wound up in a famous area of Tokyo called Asakusa, best known for Tokyo’s oldest temple, Sensoji. While the temple itself is impressive, the area at night and the walk towards it is also a sight to behold. After leaving Asakusa station, travelers are greeted with three familiar and unmistakable sights: the impressive gate Kaminari-mon, Japan’s tallest free standing structure the Tokyo Skytree, and the golden hops on the roof of the Asahi Beer Building.
Yes, everyone here lovingly refers to it as a giant golden piece of poo.
After walking under the Kaminari-mon Gate, you come to an outdoor market that’s usually bustling with people. Naturally, I was at the Tokyo Game Show all day, so all of the businesses and shops had closed by the time I rolled around. The closed shutters might actually be a more interesting experience as they create a long, dark, and kind of haunting walk down to the temple.
This is also obviously a popular hangout place as a lot of friends and couples wrapping up a fun night on the town were in the area as well, some wearing kimonos for the closing days of summer.
Just before reaching the second gate to the temple, a side road also takes you down a row of ancient shops that still strongly resemble 19th century Japan. Really cool place, and the late-summer crickets at the nearby park add to the old-timey feel.
And then you reach Hozomon, the next gate leading to this massive temple. Here, you’ll find one of Japan’s largest lanterns, large enough to cover even the tallest human should it fall from its hook, but that’s not the most impressive treasure at Hozomon.
Those would be the two statues guarding the temple grounds and keeping out evil spirits. Just look at these nasty guys and tell me you would think twice about ever doing any harm to this place. I know I wouldn’t!
And then there is the temple itself, which is far larger than any other I’ve seen in my area of Japan. Maybe Kyoto or Nara have something that can compete, but with the lighting, the night sky, and all the oranges and reds, I’m still surprised something from Japan could take my breath away after a decade of being here.
(Funny thing is I had been here once before at night back during my first year in Japan, so even this second trip knocked me off my feet!)
Sensoji is a jaw-dropping place, and I’ll let the photos do the talking in the gallery below. It’s an easy place to get to from even central Tokyo, and while it might be fun to go shopping there during the day, it is much more beautiful at night.