|Sensoji was built in the seventh century, making
it Tokyo's oldest temple. It is said that the temple enshrines a small (5.5-centimeter)
gold statue of the bodhisattva Kannon that was found in the Sumida River by fishermen
in 628. In the Edo period, the ruling Tokugawa clan offered their prayers here,
and it was a venerated place where many commoners gathered to worship. To the
north of Sensoji lay the old Yoshiwara pleasure quarters and a kabuki theater.
This area was quite popular with Edo residents as an entertainment district, and
it is said that it served as the wellspring of Edo culture.
The grounds of Sensoji include a five-story pagoda, among other buildings, and
numerous stone monuments. Many different events are held over the course of the
year, including the Sanja Festival in May, which is attended by more than a million
people, and the Hozuki-ichi (Chinese lantern plant fair) in the summer.
The area around Sensoji is home to many famous old shops and restaurants. When
evening rolls around, relaxing over dinner and taking in the Shitamachi atmosphere
may be a fine way to finish off the day.