Many worshippers were stirring around the incense burner placed in front of the main hall of Senso-ji

People around incense burner
Incense burner placed in front of the main hall of Senso-ji
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Walking through the Kaminari-mon gate, down the Nakamise, and past the Hozomon gate, a large incense burner is set up in front of the main hall. Some people put incense sticks they bought at a hut by the side of the approach to the temple into the censer, while others simply bathe their heads in the smoke. In any case, many people stop at the incense burner for a while before visiting the main hall of Senso-ji Temple.

The smoke from the censer is said to have been originally used to purify the bodies of visitors to the temple, as it is believed to have the effect of dispelling evil spirits, improving bad parts of the body, and improving one's head.

What is interesting is that the act of bathing in the smoke seems to be unique to Japan. Although the shape may be different, incense sticks and incense burners can be found in Buddhist temples overseas, and worshippers offer incense in the same way. However, I don't recall ever seeing the act of bathing one's body in smoke like in Japan at Buddhist temples abroad.

When I think of smoke to purify the body, I think of the smoke emitted from the huge incense burner called Botafumeiro in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In the cathedral, which stands at the end of the pilgrimage route Camino de Santiago, the Botafumeiro is suspended from the ceiling by a rope and swung like a pendulum to disperse incense to the pilgrims.

Buddhism and Christianity. Although I don't see any religious connection between them, they may have believed in the power of smoke in some way.

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PHOTO DATA

No

4851

Shooting Date

May 2010

Posted On

November 17, 2010

Modified On

May 31, 2022

Place

Asakusa, Tokyo

Genre

Street Photography

Camera

CANON EOS 1V

Lens

EF85MM F1.2L II USM

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