Spring

See Golden Dragon Dance and Be Awed by the Splendor at Sensoji Temple in Tokyo

Erica.I

Writer

Seeing Golden Dragon Dance in the most famous Tokyo temple will become an excellent addition to your travels indeed. Ever wonder why dragons in Eastern culture are treated as divine creature and worshipped in festivals, but dragons in Western culture are deemed evil and cruel creatures that must be ruled, controlled or vanquished? Okay, sorry, I don’t really have any straightforward answers to that question. But you can get the idea of how people worship the dragons in East while watching the magnificent Golden Dragon Dance in Sensoji Temple, Asakusa.

Image courtesy of y kawahara

What is The Golden Dragon Dance?

The Golden Dragon Dance, or the “Kinryu no Mai”, is a traditional dance performance at Kinryuzan Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. The Golden Dragon, a.k.a. The Kinryu is a dragon god and a protector of Buddhism. And the legend has it that the bodhisattva of mercy, Kannon, which the Sensoji Temple is dedicated to, appeared as a golden dragon descending from the sky. However, the history of this dancing is not that old as you might think. The dance was produced to commemorate the reconstruction of the Kannondo Main Hall of the Temple, on October of 1958, after it was burnt down during the air raid in WWII. But the dance has become a representative of Tokyo’s traditional performing art. People perform it even in other events like the Tokyo Marathon.

Magic of Number Eight

The Golden Dragon in question weighs about 88 kilograms (194 pounds) and is 18 meters long (60 feet), with 8,888 scales along its gilded body. Noticed all the number “8”s? That’s because number 8 is a lucky number in the Eastern culture: the 八 in sounds like 發 (fa), which means “wealth”, “fortune”, and “prosper” in Chinese. And in Japan, it is considered a lucky number because the shape of 八, a “suehirogari” shape (widened bottoms indicating the future with prosperity and growth… I’m guessing Japanese people in the past just made up that reason because many Buddhist traditions involved the number 8, but the Chinese reasoning didn’t fit their pronunciation of the number…). 8 people control the dragon, and another person controls the lotus-shaped ball representing Kannon Goddess.

The Dragon marionette dances in sync with the “Hayashi”, the Japanese traditional music by the Geishas, and reenact the scene of dragon entering our human world from heaven. Oh, and you can buy tenugui hand towels from Geishas for 1000 Yen if you want souvenirs!

Details and Access

Dates: March 18th and October 18th every year
Dance time: 2-3 times a day (11:30-, 14:00-, 15:30-) depending on the year.
Place: Sensoji Temple
Address: 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo
Official website (Japanese only): http://www.senso-ji.jp/annual_event/23.html
Fee: none
Access:
Take the Ginza or Asakusa Line, and get off at the Asakusa station. Since the Golden Dragon Dance is very popular, there will be a huge crowd. So, if you want to take a good look at the Dragon, be sure to be there well before the performance starts!
Note: If you want more info about the Asakusa Area, go to the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center right in front of the famous Kaminarimon Gate. They’ve got free Wi-Fi too!

Closing Remarks

While you ponder over which Targaryen dragons are the best, or which dragons in the movie “How to Train Your Dragon” you would want as a pet (I’ve always thought that Toothless acts like a cat), why not imagine what those stories would be like in the Japanese setting? I bet watching the Golden Dragon Dance will give you the idea! So, enjoy the majestic Golden Dragon Dance, and don’t forget to take pictures!

If you’re a little nervous about coming to Japan for the first time, do not fret! Just go to the Huber website and start looking for a local guide and a future friend!

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Most of the travelers who come to Japan enter the country through Tokyo. Even if it is not the main place of your destination, it would be a great idea to stay in the capital city for a few days. The biggest conglomerate in the world has much to offer to any kind of traveler. Whether you want to go sightseeing, shopping, eating out, or trying something special that you can experience only in Japan, Tokyo has it all. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Tokyo! Please, have a look, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/7726/ 

See More Tokyo Spring Events and Festivals This Year!

After cold winter, Tokyo blooms as hundreds of thousands of Sakura trees in spring. Not only it features numerous parks and spots for cherry blossoms viewing, but it also boasts uncountable events that will make your stay even more memorable. The weather is mild, so it is a perfect time for a walk around the city. The following article picked up the most interesting and popular festivals and events to attend this spring in Tokyo! Please take a look!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/popular-tokyo-spring-events-festivals

Enjoy Sakura in Japan!

Cherry blossoms are an essential part of Japanese culture. And, viewing cherry blossoms (Hanami) is very popular in Japan during the spring. This is because cherry blossoms, which the Japanese call “Sakura” are stunning at this season.

If you are planning to visit Japan this spring and want to discover more cherry blossoms spots in Kyoto area, please check the following article. It’s covering the best Hanami spots in the old capital and provides you with the essential information, so you can get the most from your Sakura trip!

Here`s the link. URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2566/ 

Osaka is very close to Kyoto. It will be a miss if you don’t visit Osaka to see cherry blossoms when you are in the Kansai area in spring. Please check the following article to find out the best cherry blossoms viewing spots in Osaka and Kansai!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/osaka-kansai-cherry-blossoms-spots-sakura-festivals-feel-spring

Kyoto and Osaka have many beautiful spots to see Cherry blossoms. However, other areas also have excellent places for hanami. Tokyo features many of those spots as well! If you are in Tokyo around spring and looking for a place to see cherry blossoms, Why don’t you check the following article?

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/1805/

Erica.I

Things I can't live without: Roaming inside a bookstore, cats/dogs, tea, comfy chairs, British period drama... and more books!

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