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Like most major Buddhist temples, Sensoji temple in Asakusa holds its Hanamatsuri to mark Buddha's birthday on April 8. Hana Matsuri sign at Kaminarimon Gate.
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A symbol of Hanamatsuri (literally "flower festival") is the white elephant which is paraded around. This one stands ready at Kaminarimon Gate. It has a baby Buddha statue on top.
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When the Buddha was born, he walked seven steps and said, "I am my own Lord through Heaven and Earth," and pointed one hand to Heaven and the other to Earth.
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Children from the local kindergarten walk toward Kaminarimon Gate from where they will pull the white elephant.
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Every April 8, if it's a nice day, I try to visit a different temple in Japan to see Hanamatsuri. This year I decided to see it in Asakusa.
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Sensoji temple was renovating its roof so it is covered with scaffolding (painted with a gold dragon). Out front is the Hanami-do where you can pour sweet tea over the baby Buddha.
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People crowd around the flower-decorated Hanami-do, the little hall with the baby Buddha.
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People pour sweet tea over the baby Buddha. He points one finger to Heaven. 花御堂
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Sweet tea is poured over a statue of a baby buddha. According to legend, sweet rain (or perfumed water) fell when the Buddha was born.
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Inside Sensoji temple was another Hanami-do with a baby Buddha. 花御堂
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Anyone can pour the sweet tea over the baby Buddha for free.
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The little Hanamatsuri parade went through Nakamise and arrived at Sensoji with the white elephant in tow.
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Asakusa Hana Matsuri 花まつり
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In front of Sensoji temple, they held a Hana Matsuri ceremony with the kindergarten kids.
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They sang a few songs. Their parents toting video camcorders recorded the event.
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Asakusa: White elephant is usually present during Hanamatsuri. On the day before the Buddha's mother Queen Maya gave birth, she dreamed that a white elephant entered her womb.
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Kids pour sweet tea over the baby Buddha during the Hanamatsuri ceremony.
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Hanamatsuri at Sensoji temple in Asakusa.
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Baby Buddha on the white elephant.
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White elephant and the pagoda at Sensoji temple, Asakusa on Buddha's birthday called Hanamatsuri.
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After the ceremony, they served free sweet tea. 甘茶
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Ama-cha sweet tea for everyone. 甘茶
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An extra treat was free flowers (orchids). They gave out a large number of these flowers.
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The flowers were made in Thailand.
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Pretty orchid. It had a water capsule at the end of the stem. At the top were buds which later bloomed. This flower lasted me well over a month before it withered.
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Hanamatsuri sign
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About Hanamatsuri in Japanese.
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