The Shinto Sensoji Shrine in Asakusa finished its’ construction in 645 and made it as the oldest shrine in Tokyo. If we try to imagine it briefly, from 645 until today, how many changes and events had happened in the city of Tokyo? It’s previous name ‘Edo’ was given when the city was under the rule of the Edo clan in 12th century. Edo at the time was recorded in many historical journal as small fishermen village. So, how was the everyday sounds like here in 645 when the Sensoji shrine was constructed in Asakusa? Truly an unimaginable world compare to the hustle and bustle of the highly modernized Tokyo lifestyle of today. The Sensoji shrine was almost one thousand years older than the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate, a time when Tokyo rapidly transform into a city.
This is a sound recording of the Sensoji shrine on 2nd April 2019. I recorded this sound around noon. One characteristic of the atmosphere that I got and had become widely known was that the shrine was so popular and had become one of the most popular tourists destinatons in Tokyo. Of course I wouldn’t rule out the existence of local people, worshippers of the Shinto reiligion who pray here. However the the number of tourists visiting the site was overwhelming. Especially in the beginning of spring, one of the best and beautiful time to visit the land of Sakura.
In this recording, you could hear conversations between people as they passed by from and to various directions, whether they just arrived at the shrine or leaving the premises. Then, the one thing that was definitely part of the every day soundscape here was the sound of wooden sticks being shaken inside the omikuji boxes ( please read and listen to the recording: “Omikuji stick at Sensoji Shrine Asakusa” ). Everyday from morning until the evening the Sensoji shrine was filled with sounds from people visiting the shrine. The noise would gradually diminish come night time, when the shrine would be closed (5 pm) followed by the closing of shops in the Nakamise Shopping
Time passes by and cannot be turn back. Again, I was just wondering, how was the soundscape of this shrine in 645? Then, how would the soundscape sound like in the future, a hundred years or even a thousand years from now for examole? This shrine is a witness of the so many changes in Tokyo’s soundscape.