Every 18th of March and 18th of October, the golden dragon is out in Asakusa’s Senso-ji temple, Tokyo. The ceremony is called Kinryu no mai, and the dragon’s dance leads him to every part of the place, including the Kaminarimon door, one of the 100 landscapes of Heisei era (yes: precisely the ones we challenged ourselves to see in a single year). Here are some photos.
The number 8 is a big deal in Buddhism. The dragon is a pretty good proof of that statement. 18 meters long, he is animated by 8 dancers and is covered by 8888 scales. And he weights precisely 88kg.
The March dance commemorates Jigen-en, the founding event of Tokyo’s first temple when two fishermen found a small statue of Bodhisattva Kannon in the Sumida river. The lotus flower hold by a dancer actually stands for Kannon, and the dragon’s dance is a way to protect the deity. At the same time, the October dance stands for Kiku Kuyo-e, the memorial service for chrysanthemums.
During Kinryu no Mai (金龍の舞), one can hear Hayashi, a Japanese traditional music type, performed by several Geishas. Feel free to touch the dragon’s head, it is an easy way to get some luck for the whole coming year.
How to get there?
The closest station to reach the Senso-ji is Asakusa station on the Asakusa line (A18), the Ginza line (G19) and the Tobu Skytree line (TS-01). The Tsukuba Express Asakusa station is also convenient enough.