Asakusa

A Tour of Asakusa (Old and New Japan)

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Asakusa is visited by more than half of all tourists from foreign countries. You’ll be able to see the Sensoji Temple which is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and also the outer gate called the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate). The street leading from the gate to the inner precinct of the temple is lined with old shops. Many of them offer services in English.
Address
Asakusa Taito-ku, Tokyo

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Senso-ji Temple

Senso-ji Temple, the oldest temple located in Tokyo, and Nakamise-dori connecting the Kaminarimon entrance to the main hall, are constantly crowded with sightseers on a yearly basis. Since the area has always had a large number of temples since the Edo Period, it has been called Teramachi, which translates to ‘City of Temples’. Asakusa Kokusai Avenue is where you can enjoy shopping while walking through this Teramachi. As soon as you exit Asakusa Station, there are many unique stores that sell goods such as Japanese sweets and there is even a taiko drum museum. The area of old streets where people have been residing since the Edo Era is called shitamachi (old downtown), and it is recommended that people take their time to take a look around at the history of the Asakusa corner of shitamachi. During the springtime, the nearby Sumida River has cherry blossom trees lined up on both sides of the riverbank for a kilometer and when in full bloom, it is a great place to be for hanami.

Tokyo Skytree

In Asakusa, you are able to enjoy the cherry blossoms, shitamachi, and the Tokyo Skytree. The Tokyo Skytree soars above the old town of Asakusa with its temples, wooden residences, rickshaws, and venerable dining establishments such as Imahan (sukiyaki) and Daikokuya (tempura) contributing to its shitamachi atmosphere, is a popular photo opportunity location for many sightseers. In 2012, the Tokyo Skytree took on the role that Tokyo Tower had as the main radio tower and as a commercial facility, and in recent times, has become a new landmark of Tokyo. The tower has become popular as a sightseeing spot for Japanese and foreign visitors alike. The recently established commercial center called Solamachi, located directly next to Skytree, has everything from shopping to food for the young people of today. Concentrated under one roof, it is an ideal place to take a rest after exploring Asakusa.

Kaminarimon

When people think of Asakusa, they also think immediately of Kaminarimon. These are the outermost gates of Tokyo’s oldest temple, Senso-ji. The large red lantern located directly in front of these gates is one of the most photographed places in Asakusa. The path approaching the shrine that is located between the Kaminarimon and Senso-ji’s main hall is known as Nakamise-dori, and has many shops along it which sell a wide array of souvenirs and goods; such as sweets called Kaminari-okoshi made of rice, or traditional Japanese sweets called “ningyo-yaki” with red-bean paste between bite-sized sponge cakes. You can stroll and eat from many of these stores, so it is highly recommended to try as many unique delicacies as possible. The other goods sold range from sword replicas to Japanese fashion items, and it is likely that you will find souvenirs to your liking to take back home. Lined up outside of the temple are rickshaws whose drivers can carry and transport you around the area. During the Meiji and Taisho eras, as well as the initial stages of the Showa period, these rickshaws were very commonly used. These rickshaw drivers can not only take you around Asakusa, but they can also provide you with explanations and stories about the area as you ride around. This is recommended for those who want to tour Asakusa within a short amount of time.

The Asakusa Sanja Festival in May

Although there are many festivals throughout the year in Asakusa, the most famous of them is the Sanja Festival in May. The entire district of Asakusa comes alive during the festival, and the areas shrines and Nakamise-dori are some of the locations used for the festival. The festival continues on for 3 days and over 150,000 people visit each year. This festival is truly a seasonal tradition of the early days of summer.

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Access

From Shinjuku Station to Asakusa Station:
Take the Chuo Line to Kanda Station, change trains to the Ginza Line to Asakusa Station (21 minutes, ¥340)From Tokyo Station to Asakusa Station:
Take the Yamanote Line to Kanda Station, change trains to the Ginza Line to Asakusa Station (12 minutes, ¥310)

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Reviews

a year ago
A must
When visiting Tokyo, it is ideal to put aside half a day to wander this old area with its markets and restaurants and beautiful, famous Senso-ji temple. Glad we came to visit this place!
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2 years ago
Pick your fortune
You can easily get there from the hostel on your feet. It’s about 15-20min. walk. The whole area is so beautiful and traditional. I love it so much. Definitely, I will recommend to shake your forture near by Shrine. Do some gifts shopping in the narrow street which is in front of the Shrine. It’s magical tradional Japanese place! Must see:)
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2 years ago
Samuria Karaoke
Asakusa feels like a place that has soul in it, The Senso-ji temple area with its small shops selling all the souvenirs you need to bring back to people at home. After the shops start to close you can move to one of the many Izakaya and have a meal and a drink there. You do not need to walk far from the shrine till the area changes back to modern tokyo, with bigger shopping malls, karaoke places and more modern style bars. Bit frather away from the Temple area there is also the Sumida river and sightseeing boats that you can take from there to see a bit of tokio through water ways.
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2 years ago
Historical Spot in Modern Tokyo
Amazing place with traditional culture for any first time visitor to Tokyo! You can stroll through Nakamise shopping street to visit Senso-ji temple first. Pray for good fortune and spend time in Nakamise Street where you can buy traditional Japanese sweets, delicate souvenirs!
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2 years ago
Asakusa Tokyo's Glory
My friends and I went to Asakusa this week and had a wonderful afternoon filled with plenty to see in the crowded nakamise dori full of shops and the magnificent senso ji at the end of it. It was raining when we came but we did not find it a hassle since we could easily buy a cheap umbrella at the convenience store. After that we went to see the Tokyo Sky tree, the ticket prices were a bit steep (2000 yen) but the view made for it. Overal it was a wonderful day!
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2 years ago
Cultural Place
An old temple and many shops. It's good to walk around and try Japanese food. You can buy Japanese cultural souvenirs as well. If you're lucky, you'll find people wearing beautiful kimono.
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2 years ago
Omikuji!
Asakusa its grate place to feel like you traveled back in time! The little shops filled with Japanese trinkets and snacks are very charming and interesting! I love to visiting the temple to pray and get omikuji (fortune-telling paper)! It is always exciting, especially at the new year's time!
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3 years ago
Step back in Edo period in Asakusa
Typical views that you can expect in Tokyo are skyscrapers yet if you wish to find something old Japan, Asakusa may be the answer. In your guide book, you should find photos of a temple with a big red lantern, the icon of Asakusa. Asakusa comprises famous shopping mall, run-down theme park, brand new commercial building, and casual eateries, all of which still convey good old edo period that lasted until the end of 19th century, when samurai class was still active.
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3 years ago
Some chance to find tradition in a modern city
After traveling to Japan 4 times so far, I started to feel annoyed of the busy vibe of Tokyo after a while. For sure it's an exciting city, but to discover Japan it's better to visit other places. Asakusa is a good chance to feel the tradiotional side of Japan in its modern capital. I love to walk around this area and stay at one of the many Khaosan guesthouses you can find here. Those are a great oppertunity to meet new people in this anonymous city.
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4 years ago
East side represent!
If you've done any research into Japan or Tokyo. You have probably seen a photo of a giant red temple with a giant red gate. Yeah that's here. Its even cooler up close! Asakusa is one of my favorite areas. I have spent more time here than any other area in Tokyo. If you wander away from the temple, the prices are much cheaper than say, Shibuya. Of course, around the temple area, things are well...tourist prices. I find the people here much friendlier than other people in Tokyo. Perhaps seeing so many foreigners on a daily basis has an effect on the people here. They are much more welcoming and open to conversation than people on the west side (Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ebisu, etc). All in all, this is a great area. Check out the temple (Senso-ji), get your fortune told at said temple. Grab some Tempura and chill out. Asakusa moves at its own pace.
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4 years ago
My new home
What can I not say that's good about this place. I'm currently on my 3 month stay here and this place has been wonderful. There are many great places to venture off too. They have an amazing looking temple, Asakusa shrine with many little shops to give you that little Japan taste of snacks from all over. The locals are very friendly as well as the many foreigners that you will come across, all there for the same reason you are. The view of Tokyo Skytree is great for dates, some say go in the day I say go at night because you get to see the the bright awaking night of Asakusa. It is pretty expensive though. There are many other places to commute to that have nearby trains that is easy to navigate around. Western and Japanese foods will leave you full. If you ever decide to come to Tokyo stay at Khaosan World guest house. (PLUG) friendly staff and a great place to make some new international friends.
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4 years ago
One of the best areas in Tokyo
I love Asakusa. A wonderful temple, the oldest amusement park in Japan, a great view of Tokyo Skytree, cuisine from all around the world, multiple train stations offering easy access to the rest of Tokyo, walking distance from Ueno, Sumida Park offering cherry blossom viewing in spring, museums, craft shops, workshops, friendly staff in every restaurant, English speakers everywhere, a river, a headquarters for geisha, a headquarters for beer, street performers every weekend, and numerous festivals all year round. I could say more about Asakusa, much more. It really is one of the best places in Tokyo, and perhaps even Japan.
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4 years ago
Must see spot!
Asakusa is one of most traditional place in Tokyo. There is very famous temple, Sensoji. There are many good restaurants there! It is good for lunch!
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