is the oldest and most famous temple in the city of Tokyo
. The firebombing of Tokyo
in the spring of 1945
destroyed virtually the entire city, including almost all sites of historical interest, so Sensoji is pretty much the only thing left in the city more than 65 years old, and thus almost every tourist visit to Tokyo includes a visit to Sensoji.
Sensoji was built to honor the indeterminately-gendered bodhisattva Kannon, who is also known as Guan Yin in China. According to legend, in the year 628 by two fishermen, the brothers Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari, found a solid gold statute of Kannon in their fishing net while fishing on the nearby Sumida River, and he temple of Sensoji was constructed in order to house this sacred statute (which is allegedly still kept inside the temple somewhere).
Along with neighboring Asakusa Shrine, Sensoji is the site of Tokyo's largest and most famous annual festival, the Sanja Matsuri, which completely shuts down the city for several blocks around the area for three days every spring for a giant procession of costumed dancers, musicians, geisha, and about 100 mikoshi, or portable Shinto shrines.
Sensoji is also famous for the Nakamise-dōri, a long street of little stalls leading up to the temple where all manner of knick-knacks and tchotchkes can be purchased.