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Asakusa Shrine

One of the few buildings in Asakusa to survive wartime bombing, today this 17th-century shrine is the site of one of Tokyo’s most important festivals.

Asakusa Shrine’s location, just behind the Buddhist temple, Sensō-ji, allows an insightful comparison between Japan’s two major religions of Shinto and Buddhism. Visit this historic shrine in May for one of Tokyo’s most important festivals, Sanja Matsuri, an elaborate 3-day festival.

Also known as “Sanja-sama” (Shrine of the Three Gods), Asakusa Shrine was built in 1649 to honor the three fishermen who founded Sensō-ji. The shrine was originally part of the temple, but was designated as a separate site over 100 years ago. Note that this is one of only a handful of historic buildings left standing after World War II. This shrine was named an “Important Cultural Property” by the Japanese government in 1951.

Look closely at the pair of half-lion, half-dog stone sculptures, called komainu, guarding the shrine’s entrance. These guardians are a common feature of Shinto shrines, with one statue always depicted with an open mouth and the other with a closed mouth. The one with the open mouth is said to be pronouncing “a,” the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, while the closed mouth statue is pronouncing the last letter, “um.” Together, these two sounds represent the beginning and the end of all things.

Although this shrine is one of the most famous in Tokyo, it’s actually overlooked by many tourists in favor of big, bold Sensō-ji. This makes Asakusa Shrine a more tranquil site by comparison. Take your time and appreciate its subtle features. Built in the gongen-zukuri architectural style, this simple shrine’s buildings have an H-shaped layout and feature numerous ornate carvings. 

The shrine becomes a center of activity during Sanja Matsuri each May, drawing more than 1.5 million local and overseas tourists. During the festival, over 100 neighborhood portable shrines, or mikoshi, are brought to Asakusa Shrine to be blessed. Walk through the streets to see the portable shrines paraded around their respective neighborhoods, bringing good fortune and prosperity to the local residents. 

Asakusa Shrine is open every day and admission is free. Walk here from Asakusa Station, a short distance away.

Popular Activities at Asakusa Shrine

Give yourself heaps of time at Asakusa Shrine. Here are the best activities:

Waited eons to experience this renowned attraction? Then you can't head back home without trying a LGBT Tokyo Past and Present.

If you're after even more activities, have a look at our Tokyo things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Asakusa Shrine


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See all 2,011 Properties near Asakusa Shrine
Asakusa View Hotel P4,472
Asakusa View Hotel

Asakusa View Hotel

     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Taito, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Hanayashiki Amusement Park, Asakusa Shrine and Sensō-ji Temple. Ueno Park and Tokyo National Science Museum are also within 1 mile (2 km). Tawaramachi Station is 9 minutes by foot and Asakusa Station is 11 minutes.

    APA Hotel Asakusa Tawaramachi Ekimae P2,794
    APA Hotel Asakusa Tawaramachi Ekimae

    APA Hotel Asakusa Tawaramachi Ekimae

       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Taito, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kaminarimon, Sensō-ji Temple and Asakusa Shrine. Ueno Park and Tokyo National Science Museum are also within 1 mile (2 km). Tawaramachi Station is only a 2-minute walk and Inaricho Station is 9 minutes.

      APA Hotel Asakusa-Ekimae P2,438
      APA Hotel Asakusa-Ekimae

      APA Hotel Asakusa-Ekimae

      1-12-16, Komagata, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Tokyo
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Taito, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sensō-ji Temple and Edo-Tokyo Museum. Tokyo National Museum and Tokyo Dome are also within 3 mi (5 km). Asakusa Station is only a 5-minute walk and Tawaramachi Station is 6 minutes.

        Richmond Hotel Premier Asakusa International P4,813
        Richmond Hotel Premier Asakusa International

        Richmond Hotel Premier Asakusa International

           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Asakusa, this spa hotel is 1 mi (1.6 km) from Ueno Park, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Dome. Tokyo Imperial Palace and Tokyo Tower are also within 6 mi (10 km). Asakusa Station is 7 minutes by foot and Tawaramachi Station is 8 minutes.

          Lightning Hotel Asakusa P2,460
          Lightning Hotel Asakusa

          Lightning Hotel Asakusa

             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Taito, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kaminarimon and Sensō-ji Temple. Asakusa Shrine and Ueno Park are also within 1 mile (2 km). Tawaramachi Station is only a 2-minute walk and Asakusa Station is 6 minutes.

            HOTEL ANN ASAKUSA P3,864
            HOTEL ANN ASAKUSA

            HOTEL ANN ASAKUSA

               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Taito, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kaminarimon, Sensō-ji Temple and Asakusa Shrine. Ueno Park and Tokyo National Science Museum are also within 1 mile (2 km). Tawaramachi Station is 6 minutes by foot and Asakusa Station is 8 minutes.

              Onyado Nono Asakusa Natural Hot Springs P5,687
              Onyado Nono Asakusa Natural Hot Springs

              Onyado Nono Asakusa Natural Hot Springs

                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Asakusa, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Hanayashiki Amusement Park, Sensō-ji Temple and Asakusa Shrine. Ueno Park and Tokyo National Science Museum are also within 1 mile (2 km). Asakusa Station is 8 minutes by foot and Tawaramachi Station is 9 minutes.

                APA Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon P2,439
                APA Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon

                APA Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon

                2-14-1, Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Tokyo
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Taito, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Sensō-ji Temple and Sumida Park. Tokyo Sky Tree and Ueno Park are also within 2 mi (3 km). Asakusa Station is only a 3-minute walk and Tawaramachi Station is 6 minutes.