Visited by millions of people each year, this entertainment district is centered around Sensoji Temple and Nakamise Street. The former is a Buddhist Temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon, and the latter is a busy shopping arcade offering all sorts of souvenirs. Despite located in the busy city center, Asakusa is well-known for its historical site complex and the old downtown atmosphere.
This gate with its iconic giant red lantern is the main entrance to Sensoji Temple. Measuring 3.9 meters high, 3.3 meters wide and weighing roughly 700 kilograms, the lantern is folded up on certain occasions, such as during storm, or during festival to let tall objects pass through the gate. Two statues are in front of the gate: Fujin, the God of Wind (right), and Raijin, the God of Thunder (left). Two additional statues stand on the reverse of the gate: the dragon-tailed gods Tenryu and Kinryu. Activities : Photo stop in front of the gate Fee : None Time required : 10 minutes
After you pass through the gate heading toward the main hall of Sensoji Temple, you will enter the famous Nakamise-dori, a bustling 250 meters street lined with souvenir shops and food stalls. Between the outer gate of Kaminarimon and the inner gate of Hozomon (Sensoji's main gate), there are 89 shops. These shops sell a great variety of street snacks and traditional arts. Most shops are open from 10:00 to 19:00. Activities : Shopping, "tabearuki" (walk and eat in Japanese) Fee : None Time required : 20 minutes
Tokyo's oldest and one of the most significant temple started back in year 628 where two fishermen, the Hinokuma brothers, fished a statue of Kannon (the god of compassion) out of Sumida River. No matter how many times they returned the statue to the river, it always came back to them. To the left, stand a five-stories pagoda, Goju-no-To, and to the right of the temple is Asakusa Shrine, home of Sanja Matsuri (Tokyo's most spectacular festival). Activities : Sightseeing, photo stop, history learning, pilgrim Fee : None Time required : 10 minutes
Stands at 634 meters high, Tokyo Skytree is world's tallest tower and the second tallest structure in the world after Burj Khalifa. The highlight of this broadcasting facility is its two observation decks which offer a spectacular view of Tokyo. Take a walk from Sensoji Temple to Sumida Park (Asakusa Riverbank) and take in the majestic views of Tokyo Skytree on the opposite bank. Activities : Sightseeing, photo stop Fee : None Time required : 10-15 minutes
Fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside! Kagetsudo's melon bread is famous for its size which bigger than the average. It has been in the business since 1945, and still plenty of customers come every day to get their hands on this Jumbo Melon Bread that are usually out of stock by the evening. It is sold at JPY 220/piece. Other than melon bread, they also sell ice cream buns and other Japanese sweets. (Image by Kagetsudo)
Website : https://asakusa-kagetudo.com/en/
Japan's oldest tempura restaurant, having been founded all the way back in 1837. Located near the Raimon Gate of Sensoji Temple, this tempura-specialized restaurant offers a variety of different types of tempura rice bowls and set meals. The tempura is fried to perfection; nor too dry or too soggy, with a light aftertaste. A set meal starts from JPY 1,300.
(Image by Sansada)
Kimono-wearing & Maiko/Geisha Makeover
The kimono is a T-shaped, wrapped-front garment with square sleeves and a rectangular body, and is worn with the left side wrapped over the right side. Traditionally used with obi and accessories such as zori sandals and tabi socks, kimono is still worn by Japanese today to funerals, weddings and other formal events. Wander around the street of Asakusa in Japanese traditional dress, kimono. Better yet, go for the full experience of becoming a maiko/geisha with proper makeup and hairstyling.
Rickshaw Ride / Jinrikisha
The word jinrikisha (人力車, 人 jin = human, 力 riki = power or force, 車 sha = vehicle), which literally means "human-powered vehicle". This transportation was invented as early as the 19th century. Experience traveling like true locals in this ancient "taxi" with guides who are eager to introduce you to must-visit destinations.
Keychain / Charms with Bells
You can find keychain everywhere in Japan. However, when in Asakusa, the keychain/strips are with bells or miniature lanterns. This straps with bells are for Buddhist worship, and it is believed that they bring protection over your well-being. It also can be attached to your bags, phones, cameras, and so on. The choices are endless! You won't ever lose them again as you'll remember where you last heard the bell ringing. There is no better souvenirs or memorabilias than the ones that bring you a good luck!
(Image via Matcha.com)
Japanese Folding Fan
In the Chinese official historical record of the Song Dynasty (960–1279) it is written that the Japanese monk Chonen gifted folding fans to the emperor of China in 988, which makes the Japanese folding fan an original invention. There are various types of fan, but the folding fan is called sensu. It is still widely used, and a very popular choice for souvenirs.
(Image via Pinterest)
Kappabashi Street (Kappabashi Dogugai) is within walking distance of Asakusa’s Sensoji Temple and Ueno Park. It is a kilometer long street lined by shops catering to restaurant supply (kitchenware, utensils, high-quality Japanese knives, plastic food samples, uniforms, tables, chairs, and everything in between).
Marugoto Nippon is a large four-story building that features regional cuisines, handcrafted products and local gourmet food. “Marugoto Nippon” literally translates to “the whole Japan” and is a good place to find signature products from across the nation.
In the corner premise of just 326㎡ across Kaminarimon Gate, this eight story building offers a tourist information counter in multiple languages, an exhibition space, a café, free Wi-Fi, and an observation deck which provides a stunning view of Sensoji Temple, Nakamise Street, and Tokyo Skytree. All the facilities are free to enter. This splendid-looking contemporary building of timber and glass was designed by Kengo Kuma, the world renowned architect who designed the New National Stadium that will be the main venue for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Located along the Sumida River, this little spot is famous among the locals to enjoy cherry blossoms in spring, and watch fireworks in summer. There is also a boarding place for the “Tokyo Cruise,” a water bus that runs between the Asakusa and Odaiba area. This park is a great place to take a coffee break from all the walking in Asakusa.
Located inside Ueno Park is one of the most popular museums in Tokyo, the National Museum of Western Art. The Main Building was designed by the renowned French architect, Le Corbusier. Due to its origin, the museum was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The museum’s purpose is to introduce western art to the Japanese. The museum exhibits works from the Renaissance to the early 20th century, many having been acquired since the museum’s opening.