The Asakusa district of east Tokyo, where I took all but one of these images, is a thriving sightseeing hub attracting primarily Chinese and other Asian visitors. But tourism here is not new. The area and its massive temple, Sensoji, has been the backdrop for the sometimes peculiar proclivities of people since around the seventh century. Then, as legend has it, a Goddess of Mercy statue was miraculously pulled twice from the River Sumida (it was thrown back the first time) and subsequently enshrined, drawing pilgrims from everywhere. Of course this also attracted a host of peripheral activities, including eating and drinking stalls, streetwalkers, the homeless, pleasure rides, and people playing dress-ups, to name a few. What I find interesting is how this loose cast of characters manages to express a sense of community, how even when floating in their own worlds, locals and visitors seem to belong.


Muslim tourists in Tokyo heatwave // Mark Robinson


Tourists // Mark Robinson


Behind Sensoji temple. Insect-catching gear; a sure sign of summer // Mark Robinson


Main street outside the gate to Sensoji temple // Mark Robinson


Visitors pose on forecourt of Sensoji temple // Mark Robinson


Local girls perform hula in summer // Mark Robinson


Man walks pig, whose name is Tonkatsu (“breaded pork cutlet”) // Mark Robinson


Shopping district on west side of town // Mark Robinson


Tourists on Azumabashi bridge with Asahi beer building behind // Mark Robinson

August 28, 2018
October 18, 2018