The oldest temple in Tokyo is the very famous Sensouji Temple in Asakusa, Taito ward, and it is undoubtedly one of the most popular temples for tourists. It’s a very beautiful temple, and definitely worth a visit, but being so popular there is a touristy feel to it. Sensouji has lots of shops and stalls surrounding it and they sell Japanese-ish things. You can get souvenirs like fake swords, Japanese-ish printed kimono, and Ninja related goods like shuriken – even though these things really have very little to do with the temple at all.
In contrast, I haven’t seen so many tourists around Jindaiji temple. I guess because of the location – which is a bit inconvenient being quite far from the middle of Tokyo and far from the station. On the other hand, it isn’t as touristy and you can feel a real sense of old Japan around the temple. It’s still a popular place for local people to go and spend an afternoon or a slow Sunday.
For local communities all over Japan, there’s a long held tradition of producing folk crafts like wooden toys to sell, and, even today, many of these toys are sold as souvenirs. The souvenir shops around Jindaiji still sell these kinds of folk crafts, and it really adds to the feeling that I’ve travelled back in time to the Edo Period every time I visit the temple. The atmosphere of the whole area is very nostalgic and peaceful, and I really encourage you to visit and experience it for yourself.
If you go by car, most of the soba shops with parking offer free parking if you eat there, so I recommend eating before going off to visit the temple and explore the area.
One last thing, the temple has free Wi-Fi, so check out our connection guide How to use Jindaiji free Wi-Fi.