Hozomon Gate, Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa

Senso-ji Temple 浅草寺 in Asakusa is the oldest and most famous temple in Tokyo with a history going back 1,400 years. This temple is dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and it is incredibly popular with millions of people visiting every year.

The Hozo-mon Gate 宝蔵門 (literally “Treasure House Gate”) stands at the northern end of Nakamise 仲見世 shopping street. This massive two-story structure is 22.7 meters high, 21 meters wide, and 8 meters across from front to back. This is the inner gate of the Senso-ji temple. The Hozo-mon was first built in 942, but burned down many times.

The current gate dates from 1964 and is made of fireproof materials, so it is used to store the temple’s most treasured items. On the left and right side of the gate are two wooden ‘Nio’ 仁王 statues, fierce looking guardian spirits who protect Buddhist values. In the past the gate was called the ‘Nio-mon’ after these statues, before being renamed the Hozo-mon.

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