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Asakusa Kannon Temple Tokyo Japan April 2014

Asakusa Kannon Temple Tokyo Japan April 2014

Our first stop in Japan is the Sensoji (浅草寺, or Asakusa Kannon Temple), which is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo's oldest temple. We entered the temple through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the outer gate of Sensoji Temple and the symbol of Asakusa. There is a shopping street of over 200 meters, called Nakamise, leads from the outer gate to the temple's second gate, the Hozomon. Alongside typical Japanese souvenirs such as yukata and folding fans, various traditional local snacks are sold. The shopping street has a history of several centuries. We stopped by Bandai headquarter in Tokyo's Kuramae district, one of Japan’s biggest toy companies. Bandai merged with entertainment giant Namco and is now part of the Bandai-Namco group. There are some spanking statues showing some of the main characters of their most famous brands and games right in front of their building. They use the first floor of the building as the showroom for their products such as Kamen Rider Fourze, Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Suite PreCure, and ONE PIECE.  
 
In the afternoon, we went to the Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) which is a broadcasting, restaurant, and observation tower in Sumida. The tower reached its full height of 2,080 ft in March 2011, making it the tallest tower in the world, displacing the Canton Tower, and the second tallest structure in the world after Burj Khalifa 2,722 ft. One of its main purposes is to relay television and radio broadcast signals. Next, we went to Odaiba (お台場) which is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, across the Rainbow Bridge. It was initially built for defensive purposes in the 1850s, and later developed as a major commercial, residential and leisure area. We went to the Lego Discovery Center, which is located in Odaiba’s Decks shopping mall. They have something called the Miniland, which a miniature model of the Tokyo’s cityscape made from nearly 1.5 million bricks. Famous Tokyo landmarks are all present, such as Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge and the Odaiba area, as well as fun additions such as Shibuya’s scramble crossing and even a sumo tournament, to name a few. The kids also like the Kingdom Quest Lego themed laser shoot-em-up ride, where we have to shoot the ghosts and trolls in order to rescue the princess. There is a 4D theater screens a short 15-mins 4D movie. There are three areas for kids to actually sit down and play with Legos of all colors and sizes. The first is the Lego Racers: Build & Test area, where kids can build their own Lego race car and try it out on the test track. There is also the Lego Friends area, which is dedicated to the series of the same name. Finally, the Duplo Village is stocked with plenty of the larger Lego blocks for younger kids. The most impressive of all in Odaiba should be the Life-size Gundam statue right in front of the DiverCity Tokyo Plaza. My kids absolutely love it as they're a big Gundam fan!

Asakusa Kannon Temple Tokyo Japan April 2014

Our first stop in Japan is the Sensoji (浅草寺, or Asakusa Kannon Temple), which is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo's oldest temple. We entered the temple through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the outer gate of Sensoji Temple and the symbol of Asakusa. There is a shopping street of over 200 meters, called Nakamise, leads from the outer gate to the temple's second gate, the Hozomon. Alongside typical Japanese souvenirs such as yukata and folding fans, various traditional local snacks are sold. The shopping street has a history of several centuries. We stopped by Bandai headquarter in Tokyo's Kuramae district, one of Japan’s biggest toy companies. Bandai merged with entertainment giant Namco and is now part of the Bandai-Namco group. There are some spanking statues showing some of the main characters of their most famous brands and games right in front of their building. They use the first floor of the building as the showroom for their products such as Kamen Rider Fourze, Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Suite PreCure, and ONE PIECE.  
 
In the afternoon, we went to the Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) which is a broadcasting, restaurant, and observation tower in Sumida. The tower reached its full height of 2,080 ft in March 2011, making it the tallest tower in the world, displacing the Canton Tower, and the second tallest structure in the world after Burj Khalifa 2,722 ft. One of its main purposes is to relay television and radio broadcast signals. Next, we went to Odaiba (お台場) which is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, across the Rainbow Bridge. It was initially built for defensive purposes in the 1850s, and later developed as a major commercial, residential and leisure area. We went to the Lego Discovery Center, which is located in Odaiba’s Decks shopping mall. They have something called the Miniland, which a miniature model of the Tokyo’s cityscape made from nearly 1.5 million bricks. Famous Tokyo landmarks are all present, such as Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge and the Odaiba area, as well as fun additions such as Shibuya’s scramble crossing and even a sumo tournament, to name a few. The kids also like the Kingdom Quest Lego themed laser shoot-em-up ride, where we have to shoot the ghosts and trolls in order to rescue the princess. There is a 4D theater screens a short 15-mins 4D movie. There are three areas for kids to actually sit down and play with Legos of all colors and sizes. The first is the Lego Racers: Build & Test area, where kids can build their own Lego race car and try it out on the test track. There is also the Lego Friends area, which is dedicated to the series of the same name. Finally, the Duplo Village is stocked with plenty of the larger Lego blocks for younger kids. The most impressive of all in Odaiba should be the Life-size Gundam statue right in front of the DiverCity Tokyo Plaza. My kids absolutely love it as they're a big Gundam fan!