Sensō-ji (金龍山浅草寺 Kinryū-zan Sensō-ji?) is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo, Japan. It is Tokyo's oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect, it became independent after World War II. Adjacent to the temple is a Shinto shrine, the Asakusa Shrine. Sensō-ji is the focus of Tokyo's largest and most popular matsuri (Shinto festival), Sanja Matsuri. This takes place over 3–4 days in late spring, and sees the surrounding streets closed to traffic from dawn until late evening.
Dominating the entrance to the temple is the Kaminarimon or "Thunder Gate". This imposing Buddhist structure features a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red-and-black tones to suggest thunderclouds and lightning. Beyond the Kaminarimon is Nakamise-dori with its shops, followed by the Hōzōmon or "Treasure House Gate" which provides the entrance to the inner complex. Within the precincts stand a stately five-story pagoda and the main hall, devoted to Kannon Bosatsu.
Many tourists, both Japanese and from abroad, visit Sensō-ji every year. Catering to the visiting crowds, the surrounding area has many traditional shops and eating places that feature traditional dishes (hand-made noodles, sushi, tempura, etc.). Nakamise-Dori, the street leading from the Thunder Gate to the temple itself, is lined with small shops selling souvenirs ranging from fans, ukiyo-e (woodblock prints), kimono and other robes, Buddhist scrolls, traditional sweets, to Godzilla toys, t-shirts, and cell-phone straps. These shops themselves are part of a living tradition of selling to pilgrims who walked to Sensō-ji.