Updated: October 18, 2017
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Things to do in Asakusa: the Ultimate Guide!

Asakusa is one of the most popular destinations for tourists and for Japanese people who want to get a feel of the olden times of their city! Interesting things to do there abound. Here's a guide of some of the essential things to do, see and eat in Asakusa!

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Kaminarimon: the Lightning Gate!

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The first thing to see in Asakusa is one of the area's most famous landmark: the Kaminarimon! Hanging from the beautiful traditional gate is a huge lantern with the Chinese character of lightning (雷) and gate (門)written on it. This is a popular gathering spot and a good place to start a walking tour of Asakusa.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center

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I wouldn't usually recommend a tourist information center as a sightseeing spot in itself, but this one is quite something. It was designed by Pulitzer Prize-winning architect Kengo Kuma, and you get one of the best views of Asakusa from the observatory floor of the 7-story building. It's located right across the street from the Kaminarimon. You can't really miss it.
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You can an extraordinary view of the Nakamise shopping street from the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center's 7th floor.

Nakamise Shopping Street

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Walk through the Kaminarimon and you'll find yourself in the Nakamise Shopping Street. The place is like an open-air market where you can find Japanese traditional sweets, sembei crackers, souvenirs, clothes, yukata kimonos among many other things!

There are tons of traditional sweets to try so if you like to discover these kinds of things, please refer to this guide!

Sensoji (Asakusa Kannon Temple)

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At the end of the Nakamise shopping street, you'll find an imposing temple, one of the most beautiful pieces of traditional architecture in Tokyo, the Sensoji or otherwise known as the Asakusa Kannon Temple. If you go there during the day, the place will assuredly be very crowded. You can light an incense stick, buy yourself an omikuji (fortune slip) and make a prayer on the temple's front entrance. It may be a good idea to go at night too. Without the crowds, the atmosphere is completely different, and the temples and the surrounding pagodas are beautifully lit!

Asakusa Foods and Restaurants

Aside from being aesthetically beautiful, Asakusa is also a great spot for discovering some of Japan's most famous cuisine at an affordable price!

For Lunch or Dinner

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You'll find a plethora of reasonably-priced sushi, ramen and tempura restaurants just to name a few. Here are a couple of guides that you might find helpful for finding a great resto! The picture above shows a conveyor belt sushi restaurant.

Sweets

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Dove-shaped ningyoyakis are a popular dessert in Asakusa! They are basically small sponge cakes filled with sweet azuki bean paste. You shouldn't have much trouble finding them.
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Have you heard of melon pan? It's a type of sweet melon-shaped bread quite popular in Japan. You can find them in most convenience stores but for the real deal, head to Kagetsudo near the Sensoji temple! This is a famous very famous shop that has become a kind of flagship establishment for melon pan in Asakusa.
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Your walking food tour of Asakusa might not be complete without a matcha dessert! Head to one of these fine eateries (see guide below) to treat yourself to a traditional taste of Japan.

Don Quijote

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If you haven't checked out a Don Quijote store in Japan, this might be a good opportunity for you to do so. Walking through the store is an experience in itself. You'll find absolutely everything: face tightening straps, cheap and luxury brand clothes, household appliances, electronics, food, sex toys and many, many more products. The store plays the most annoying music and the merchandised is displayed in jam-packed chaotic narrow alleys. Most of the products' quality at Donqui is pretty bad but it's worth going as a social experiment.

Address: 2-10 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Shop for Traditional Tableware

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There are numerous shops selling traditional, made-in-Japan tableware. You can buy green tea cups for around 500 yen. The store shown above is Dengama, a popular one in the area.

Address: 1-4-3 Nishiasakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 10 AM - 7 PM

Take a Ride on a Jinrikisha (Japanese Rickshaw)

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Finally, if your feet are tired after having walked through the historic district, you can always hop aboard this traditional means of transportation know as the jinrikisha. There also quite interesting to look at. The young men pulling the chart wear jika-tabi shoes (an outdoor shoe with a separation between the big toe and the other toes), and sometimes parasol-type traditional hats.

Lastly...

There are so many things to do and see in Asakusa. Hope you've found this guide useful. And make sure to enjoy Asakusa's great food while you're there!
tabikamome
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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