About the Hōzōmon 宝蔵門
…destroyed repeatedly by fire, the gate was rebuilt again and again. Though the design of the gate remained essentially the same from the end of the 12th century through the beginning of the 17th century, it was refurbished along with the Main Hall by third Edo shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu. The new gate was completed in December of 1649. In 1692, it was adorned with a plaque reading “Senso-ji,” which was created by Cloistered Prince Ryosho, a member of the royal family who was also the head priest of Manjuin, a prestigious temple of Kyoto. The gate survived for more than 250 years before it again burned down, this time in the World War II Tokyo air raids of March 1945.
The current gate was constructed with funds provided by Yonetaro Otani, founder of the Hotel New Otani, one of Tokyo’s major hotels. Senso-ji’s sanmon, a type of gate that stands in front of a temple’s main hall, the Hozomon Gate features a triple-compartment internal structure. The top two compartments consist of storerooms, complete wth modern disaster-prevention equipment, to hold Senso-ji’s treasures and Buddhist objects.
This gate was particularly spectacular. I also loved the smell of the incense burning in the cauldron and the massive lanterns.
The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo‘s oldest temple.
We spent several hours wandering around the grounds of the temple complex. There were a lot of people there, and it was great being amongst it all.
The Five-storied Pagoda was built in 942 along with the Main Hall by military commander Taira no Kinmasa. Along with the other buildings, it has been successively lost to fire and subsequently reconstructed.
A national treasure built by third Edo shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, the Main Hall was obliterated in the March 1945 Tokyo air raids. However, it was reconstructed in October 1958 through donations collected from adherents around Japan. Though it mirrors the original style, the current building features a solid reinforced concrete structure with titanium roof tiles.
This hall was quite stunning, including the ceilings.
I just loved wandering around the temple gardens – they typify to me what a Japanese garden should look like.
To see where else I went on Day 1 in Tokyo, please see my summary page.
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