The Mysterious Smoke at Sensoji

The Mysterious Smoke at Sensoji

Tokyo 2015.08.27

At Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, visitors cover themselves with smoke. Read on to see why people do this.

Translated by Shinji Takaramura

Written by OsawaKimie

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There is a huge crowd in front of the main temple at Sensoji, a landmark in Asakusa. Step closer, and you will be engulfed by a blinding cloud of smoke.


There are people around that smoke, trying to cover themselves with it.

Where is the smoke coming from? Why are the people trying to cover themselves with it? This article is about that mysterious smoke.

Being engulfed by smoke from the Jokoro at Sensoji Temple

sensoji asakusa kannon 3

The smoke comes from a large earthenware called Jokoro. The tourists rush to the Jokoro as the smoke rises from this large incense burner. The incense can be purchased at the shop nearby. Look closely, and you will be able to see the seal of the Buddhist cross on the batch of incense.

Incense burners were brought to Japan from China at the end of the Sengoku Era (feudal period) about 400 years ago. It is one of the articles used on a Buddhist altar to purify the body of the people visiting the temple. Since then, people came to believe that the smoke from the incense burner has a healing effect. That is the reason the modern visitors gather around the incense burner at Sensoji.


You will notice that the people around the incense burner tend to cover their heads with smoke. This is based on the belief that by "healing" your head, you will become smarter.

If you happen to visit Sensoji Temple, please give it a try.


Sensoji Temple

Address: 2-3-1, Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
*The temple is open all throughout the year.
Wi-Fi: Not Available
Languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean
Station: Asakusa station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Tobu Line, Toei Subway Asakusa Line, Tsukuba Express)
5-min walk from Asakusa station (Tobu Skytree Line).
5-min walk from Asakusa station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line).
5-min walk from Asakusa station (Tsukuba Express).
5-min walk from the A4 exit of Asakusa station (Toei Subway Asakusa Line).
Religion: Buddhism
Tel: +81(0)3-3842-0181
Official Website: Sensoji

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