This photo is from a trip to Asakusa my family and I took a few weeks ago. Temples and shrines abound in Japan, perhaps just as much if not more so than churches in the West. Obviously, like any country, religion is a big part of the history and culture of Japan. What is interesting is that many Japanese people aren’t at all religious, or rather they don’t consider themselves to be. However, religion, even if not devoutly observed, becomes part of culture, in ways that aren’t really obvious at first. The two major religions in Japan are Buddhism (of which there are many, many sects) and Shintoism, which is an animist religion. These religions are largely intertwined in Japan, both being syncretic religions. The temple in this picture is located behind the famous “kaminarimon”, or thunder gate, and is called “Sensoji temple”. Like many Buddhist temples in Japan, there is a Shinto shrine right next to it. My family isn’t religious, however, like many non-religious people in Japan, we still had a great time looking at the beautiful buildings at the temple, including the huge pagoda. If you go to one, be sure to put 100 yen into the box and pull out a good fortune, because, hey, why not.