Tuesday, October 18th, join us for the fabulous: 金龍の舞 Golden Dragon Dance, “Kinryu no mai” plus our unique, "Secrets of Senso-ji & Sumida" tour!
In Tokyo, Asakusa’s world-famous Senso-ji Temple was founded in the mid-7th century, after the miraculous discovery of a solid gold statue of the goddess Kannon which was found by two brothers who were fishing in the nearby Sumida River!
Although damaged during the Pacific War, the impressive gold and vermillion temple standing today was constructed in 1958. To commemorate its rebuilding, the temple authorities created an event that became a tradition which continues today: it is the Golden Dragon Dance or “Kinryu no mai”.
Why a Golden Dragon?
All Buddhist temples have an official name and it is always “---something-mountain”. Sensoji’s name is “Kinryu-zan” or “Golden Dragon Mountain” and this is where the dancing serpent comes from.
The story is that one night, when the temple was founded, a mountain rose from the ground, KANNON (the deity worshiped in it) took the form of a golden dragon, swooped from the skies & in one night created a forest of one thousand pines, an image symbolic of abundance, prosperity & longevity!
The dragon itself is an enormous puppet (18 meters/60 feet in length and weighing 88 kilos/194 pounds operated by 8 people. An important part of the dance is a ninth dancer who holds a golden lotus flower (symbolizing Buddhist teachings) that the dragon seemingly attacks but actually wants to protect.
🔆Considering how hard it is to manipulate this heavy beast, the agility of the dancers is quite remarkable!
PROGRAM: We'll start by visiting the remarkable Asakusa Tourist Center, a fine work of modern architecture with a distinctive Japanese feeling.
From the top floor we can have a terrific view of the surrounding area, including looking out over the nearby Sumida River & the giant Sensoji Temple-Complex. This establishment is a great source of information, classes, films & lectures too, so explore it when you can!
Then, we'll wait in place for the Golden Dragon to appear & follow it as it parades towards the 5-story pagoda!
Before & after the parade I'll give you a very special walking tour of the historic Sensoji temple complex which includes the curious Tanuki temple called,"Chingo-Do", the ancient & beautiful Asakusa Shinto shrine, plus numerous other fascinating monuments, smaller temples & local points of interest, such as Mimeguri-jinja, Todai-ji Temple, Ushijima-jinja, the famous Asahi Beer Hall and MORE!
(I'll possibly also guide you to Matsuchiyama Shoten, a lovely temple where one offers a giant radish to help in, "purifying our base desires", which is the actual place where the Golden Dragon was first said to have appeared, as well as other temples and srines near the Sumida River!)
After the tour, we may enjoy the food and drinks available nearby!
The dragon & its entourage will parade & dance twice in the afternoon, at 1:30 and 3:00pm!
You don't need to stay after the first parade, and tour, but if you have time, we'll get to see the dragon dance twice on this day, which gives us more chances to enjoy & photograph this remarkable event!
SO, WHY DON'T WE ALL GO?
From Tokyo Station: Take the JR Yamanote Line to Kanda Station and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa.
From Shinjuku Station: Take the orange JR Chuo Line to Kanda Station and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa.
NOTE: The Temple festival is FREE, but we work hard to plan interesting events and to guide you to the best places, so please give generously!
(Suggested: Students, Seniors or unemployed:￥1000-2000, others, pay from ￥3000-5000. Your choice!)
KIDS ARE WELCOME & free to join with a parent!
This is a non-smoking meetup. If you must smoke, please do so only in proper smoking areas.
Your comments and suggestions for future meetups are always welcome!
Thanks! Your Meetup organizer, Kerry 🌞🎌😃