One of the most famous landmarks in Japan is Kaminarimon (雷門; かみなりもん) or the “Thunder Gate” in Asakusa, Tokyo.
Along with Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Skytree, and Tokyo Tower, it is no exaggeration to say that it is recognised by virtually all Japanese people.
But did you know that “Kaminarimon” (Thunder Gate) is just a nickname for this gate?
Many Japanese do not even know this, but its real name is “Furaijinmon” (風雷神門; ふうらいじんもん) or “The Gate of the Gods of Wind and Thunder”.
If you look closely at the picture above, you’d probably notice that there are two deities displayed on the sides of the gate.
The one on the left with the drums is Raijin (雷神 らいじん) or the god of thunder. He makes thunder with those drums.
I remember as a child I was told to hide my belly button as Raijin likes to eat it for whatever reason…
The one on the right is Fujin (風神 ふうじん) or the god of wind.
Therefore, the official name of Kaminarimon is Furaijinmon.
In fact, if you look at the giant red lantern from the other side, its official name is actually written on it.
Asakusa is one of the destinations that I definitely recommend you to visit once the Corona crisis is over.
The remnants of the Edo period (1603-1867) can be still felt in this area, and it is widely considered the heart of the Edo culture. For rakugo lovers, it is also known as the home of Asakusa Engei Hall (浅草演芸ホール), one of the four full-time rakugo venues in Tokyo.
I am so looking forward to visiting Asakusa again myself!
Asakusa Engei Hall: Kakidai, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Furaijinmon: Moyan Brenn from Italy, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Kaminarimon at night: Steve Collis from Melbourne, Australia, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons