No one has asked, but I want to explain about the picture at the top of the blog… You know, the guy with the scary eyes. That is a picture of a statue of Nio — one of the guardians of the Buddha. This statue stands at the entrance to the Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo. We have been to Senso-ji on both of our previous trips to Tokyo. It is a fascinating place. We stayed in a ryokan — a traditional Japanese inn — in Asakusa, just about a 100 meters or so from this statue.
Inside the outer gates to the temple grounds, is an open air market called Nakamisi-dori. There have been shops on this site for hundreds of years. It is a really fun and interesting place to walk around where vendors sell food and mostly tourist-related items and souvenirs. Busy from early morning to late at night after the lights of Senso-ji come on. Beyond the market area, is another gate called the Hozomon — or treasure house gate — which leads to the inner temple complex. This particular statue of Nio stands in the Hozomon as a fierce reminder to the visitors of Senso-ji.