Places to go in Tokyo: Asakusa (Just My Travel Notes)

Located in the north-east fringe of Tokyo is the Asakusa district of Tokyo. This area was once during the Edo Period home to Tokyo’s ‘entertainment’ district. However it was heavily damaged by bombing during World War II and was mostly rebuild in the 1950s.

The imposing Kaminarimon Entrance

Despite this the district has managed to hold onto a certain glimpse of the culture of old and is a lovely area to walk around and explore.

The gate was huge, though trying to get a photo without 1,000s of people was a tough challenge

The key attraction in Asakusa is the Sensoji Temple, with it’s famous Kaminarimon (Kaminari Gate) entrance. This gate was first build 1,000 years ago and is the symbol of Asakusa, as well as one of the more recognised symbols in photos of Japan.

Namimise street- jam packed with people but so interesting walking along looking at all the vendors

To get to the Sensoji temple you walk along the Namamise Shopping street which is sells a huge range of traditional, local snacks and souvenirs – and has done so for centuries.

I didn’t have a clue what some of this food was, but the great thing is that as you see it was only about $7AUD to buy.

Make sure you spend some time watching the shop vendors prepare their products. It was so interesting watching the speed and precision they worked at.

Speed and precision. The food smelled amazing so be sure to buy some to sample.

Once you make it to the end of the street – after having purchased lots of snacks to keep you full till lunch – you will reach the main Sensoji Temple. There are also a number of other temples and shrines within this area so be sure to wander round and have a good look.

The main Sensoji Temple
Worshipers burning incense as offerings to the temple

When you are at the Sensoji Temple you can participate in the ancient practice of Omikuji. This is where you can get your fortune. You will see a number of wooden draws and a metal cylinder/box. Basically you make a 100Y contribution to the temple and shake the cylinder. A stick will pop out eventually with a number on it. You match that number with the draw and take a sheet of paper which has your fortune on it.

The Sensoji Temple Omikuji (Fortune) – they recommend attaching your fortune to the metal rods to seal your fate.

Don’t be disheartened by a “bad” fortune – the temple says that “Even if you draw a bad fortune, the actions you take thereafter can alter your luck” – so there you go. What did I get? Well that is between me and the Sensoji Temple.

There nearby Asakusa Shrine was built during the Edo Period and actually survived the war.

As I mentioned spend some time wandering around the temple grounds and admiring some of the buildings and designs.

I don’t know – but I thought it was funny – and quite an important message…..
There is a gorgeous little garden near the pagoda that had this lovely stream and koi pond
After you have finished exploring the temple grounds be sure to take time to wander the streets around Asakusa.

The area around the temple has so many interesting buildings many which date back to the 1950s but have an energy about them that kind of still links it back to the traditional periods.

I love this shot – there is also a certain juxtaposition of the traditional Japanese Rickshaw (Jinrikisha) driver waiting while his passengers take photos on their iPhones.

After you have walked around for a while you will undoubtedly be getting a little hungry. Not to worry there are some lovely little Izakaya bars all over Asakusa.

You won’t be far from somewhere to eat or drink so make sure to stay hydrated and well fed

I spotted a place that had one of my favourite foods in it’s name – Asakusa Ebisu Gyoza – so we decided to stop and have a break for a bit.

Just the bare essentials in life, Beer, Gyoza, Karaage Chicken, Edamame

This bar also seems to be the place to come and bet on horse racing, there was a number of screens and betting totes. I didn’t try my hand at that, looked way too complicated for me.

The other famous site of Tokyo and Asakusa, the Asahi Beer Factory and also the Tokyo Skytree in the background

After lunch we decided to wander down to the river. On the other side of the river is the Asahi Super Dry Hall and Flame Sculpture. It is certainly a distinctive landmark. The Asahi Hall is open to the public and has a number of restaurants and cafes available.

The iconic Sumida River – you can take water cruises and tours here if you are interested.

It is certainly worth earmarking a bit of time to explore this area as there is way more that you can do.

To find your way to Asakusa you can jump on the Ginza Subway line and get out at Asakusa station.

Thanks for reading along today – bit of a longer post today. Couldn’t help but take a few pictures of this area. What did you think? Please feel free to leave a comment below? Have you been to Tokyo or Asakusa?

Thank you again and see you tomorrow.