Tokyo Guide : Asakusa
Located in the East Tokyo area, Asakusa (浅草) is one of the most visited tourist spots in Tokyo.
Asakusa is famous as one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist destinations, especially for Sensoji Temple, Nakamise Street, and Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate). The area covers approximately the eastern half of Taito Ward, Tokyo, and is one of the areas that make up the downtown area of Tokyo.
Located in Asakusa, Tokyo, Sensoji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo and has a history spanning 1,400 years. And the temple is famous for fulfilling various wishes.
According to legend, two fishermen brothers caught a statue of Kannon Bodhisattva in the nearby Sumida river. Then, a wise man in the area consulted by the brothers turned his house into a temple to enshrine the Kannon Bodhisattva. The temple is said to be the beginning of Sensoji Temple.
The statue of Kannon Bodhisattva, the principal image of Sensoji Temple, is not open to the public.
Sensoji Temple has been burnt down many times in its long history of about 1400 years, and every time it was rebuilt, it continued to grow even larger.
Kaminarimon(雷門) is a symbol of Sensoji Temple. “Kaminari” means thunder and “mon” means gate.
The statue on the right side of the gate is the god of wind “Fujin”, and the statue on the left is the god of thunder “Raijin”. These gods protect Sensoji Temple from natural disasters and fires. It is replaced about every 10 years, and the current one is the 6th lantern that was replaced in 2020.
Nakamise Dori :
From the Kaminarimon to Sensoji Temple, there is a street called “Nakamise Dori”(仲店通り). On both side of the street, there are many shops selling traditional crafts. This is the best place to buy traditional Japanese souvenirs and snacks!
Traditional Japanese crafts :
– Folding fan（扇子）
– Lucky cat（招き猫）
– Daruma doll（ダルマ）
– Wooden sword（木刀 ）
– Wind chime（風鈴 ）
– Noh‐mask（能面 ）
– Lantern（提灯 ）
– Geta/wooden clogs（下駄 ）
– Japanese sandals（草履）
– Woodblock print（木版画 ）
– Shop curtain（のれん）
– Yukata/casual summer kimono（浴衣）
– Ornamental hairpin（かんざし）
– Wrapping cloth（風呂敷）
– Ivory work（象牙細工）
– Kokeshi doll（こけし）
– Oilpaper umbrella（番傘）
– The twelve Japanese zodiac signs（十二支）
Traditional Japanese sweets :
– Millet dumplings (きびだんご)
– Deep-fried sweet bun（揚げまんじゅう）
– Rice dumplings in a sweet soy sauce（みたらし団子 ）
– Rice cracker（せんべい ）
– Deep-fried rice crackers（揚げおかき ）
– Doll-shaped sponge cake filled with red bean paste（人形焼）
– Sweet puffed rice crackers（雷おこし）
– Sweet potato paste（芋ようかん ）
– Melonpan/Melon bread（メロンパン）
– Bean-jam pancake（どら焼き）
– Matcha soft ice cream（抹茶ソフト）
– A kind of Japanese sweets made with red bean paste（きんつば・餡子玉）
* It is forbidden to walk while eating on Nakamise Street, so let’s eat up near the shop where you bought it.
Sweet puffed rice crackers shop
Strawberry-related products are so popular!
Ningyo-yaki (Doll-shaped sponge cake filled with red bean paste) shop
This is a large incense burner called “Jokoro”. Originally it was the place for purifying the body before praying, but people started to believe that its smoke had a healing effect. And nowadays, many people believe that the smoke has the effect of making them smarter.
The shutters of all the shops on Nakamise Street have been painted with motifs of Asakusa’s history and seasonal traditional events.
If you visit Asakusa in the evening, it has a different charm from the daytime.
The scenery combined with Sensoji Temple, which is lit up red in the dark, and the Skytree, which shines blue, is fantastic and very beautiful.
Night scene in Asakusa is “Beautiful”!