Before I got sick I went to Sky Tree (shown in an earlier post) and then in the evening to Asakusa, a major shrine/temple complex just over the Sumida river from Sky Tree. The weather was very nice, still warm with the late Fall chill holding off for a bit. Asakusa was getting ready for a festival, which meant decorations and hanging lanterns. In Japan, worship and commerce go hand in hand, and so a large part of the grounds inside is a huge street lined with little shops, the Nakamise.
One of the big (really big!) things about the temple complex is the lantern motif. Leading up to the Sensoji Temple itself there is a road with two large gates, the Kaminarimon and the Hozomon, in which there are huge lanterns hung, just above head height. There is also one in front of the entrance to the temple itself, and they are all inscribed with text. They are paid for with donations, and are changed every few years.
Even on the streets outside of the grounds, there is commerce, lots of antique-themed specialty shops, dealing in things like combs, knives, clothes, and food. Nearby is an area specializing in housewares and hardware, which is something they do in Japan, where a town or neighborhood will decide to specialize in one type of thing, like Akihabara for electronics, Jimbocho for books, and other places.
Once the sun goes down, the temple grounds are lit up, at least for a while.
And of course, looming above all this is Sky Tree…
Well, that’s all I have time to do tonight, I’ll post some more from the return trip to Asakusa, during the festival itself.