Arif's Journeys » Travel and Photography Blog of Arif Iqball

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Kinryu-no-mai (Golden Dragon Dance) – Asakusa Temple, Tokyo, Japan

Sensoji in Asakusa is Tokyo’s oldest temple where the image of the temple’s gold Goddess of Mercy (Kannon) is enshrined.  The official temple name for Sensoji Temple is Kinryuzan (Mountain of Golden Dragon) and this name comes from a tale about a golden dragon. According to the legend, 1000 pine trees suddenly appeared overnight near the temple on the 18th day of March. After three days, a golden dragon measuring approx. 30 meters descended into the pine trees from the heavens and was never seen again. The Golden Dragon Dance is based on this story. It was first presented in October 1958 to celebrate the opening of Showa Hall of the temple by the Asakusa Kannon Association as a commemorative event to be passed on to future generations. The dance is held on March 18 when the temple’s sacred image is unveiled for public viewing.  The main temple of Sensoji is under repair currently and this dance was performed in the courtyard.

Dancer with the Golden Dragon at the start of the dance - Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

Dancers in place in the Temple Courtyard - Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

Golden Dragon Dance - Asakusa, Tokyo, JApan

Dancer with Golden Dragon - Asakusa, Tokyo, japan

The dance was accompanied by muscial performances by local geisha.

Asakusa Geisha - Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

Following the dance, people try to touch the dragon for luck.

Festival crowd with Golden Dragon - Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

Asakusa is a charming, rustic neighborhood with many points and festivals of interest for the tourist throughout the year. Next month I hope to be able to photograph (one of my favorite subjects) Yabusame (Japanese Horseback archery) in the area.

August 19, 2012 - 11:16 am

Arif - Thank you very much. I am happy you liked it.

August 13, 2012 - 12:07 pm

David Vorwald - Just wish to say your article is astonishing.