Tuesday, February 11, 2014

UT Tyler Gate at Sensoji Temple

UT Tyler GATE students and professors with Dr. Kagawa from
 Shimane University

 Sensoji is a Buddhist Temple built completed in 645, making it the oldest temple in Tokyo. Japanese legends says that two brothers in 628 fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River. The two brothers returned the statue in the river but it keeps returning to them. The temple was built nearby for the goddess Kanon.

 Visitors first enter through Kaminarimon, the thunder gate, which is the outer gate of the Sensoji Temple.

Asakusa Shrine 
  Fugen Bosatsu (left) :A symbolic gesture of reverence
that symbolizes the unity of body and mind

       The temple's main hall holds the Asakusa Shrine which was built in 1649 by Tokugawa leyasu, the most powerful man through most of the Edo period. During our visit at the Asakusa Shrine, the GATE students and I we're taught Japanese etiquette to show respect. We bowed to the idol, donated in the collection box, rang the bell, clapped our hands twice and bowed once more before silently praying. I always believed that in order to learn and understand other cultures, we must open our minds to unfamiliar things and if possible, immerse ourselves in it. One of the things that attracted to me to the GATE program is that the GATE members' views reflects mine. It was a pleasure participating in this enriching experience with such a great group of peers.
Nakamise, a 200 meter ( for us Americans that's approximately 219 yards) shopping street. It stretches from the Thunder Gate to the second gate, the Hozomon, right before entering the Asakusa Shrine.  It was shopping over load for the girls in the group! Although this was before we even saw what Harajuku had to offer!  

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