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Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

福島

Written by MATCHA_En

2022.04.21

Asakusa, Tokyo's historic district, is a must-visit destination. We suggest a walking route that covers the important landmarks in the area, from Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center to Sensoji Temple and the traditional shopping streets nearby.

Exploring Asakusa: A Suggested Route

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

If you've ever been to Tokyo, you surely visited Asakusa. If you plan to visit Tokyo, then Asakusa will most probably be on your itinerary. Home to Sensoji, the oldest temple in Tokyo, and to many other historic landmarks, Asakusa is an excellent place to witness and experience traditional Japanese culture.

Since March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic started affecting Japan, Asakusa has gone through many changes; while many shops closed down, new establishments appeared. This is what prompted us to try to show you how the district looks now in 2022.

We hope this article will serve as a reference for self-guided walking tours of Asakusa. We suggest saving at least one day for exploring this district at leisure.

1. Start at the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center, located right near Asakusa Station, is an excellent place to get information on this historic district in Tokyo. The building was designed by renowned architect Kuma Kengo and uses wood and glass in order to blend in with the traditional atmosphere of the district.

At the counter on the first floor, you can get pamphlets with information on the history of Asakusa and Tokyo and recommended places to visit.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

We suggest, however, to go directly to the eighth floor and enjoy the wonderful view of Asakusa from above! The observation deck, as well as the exhibition rooms and public spaces on the other floors, can all be accessed for free.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

A new cafe opened on the observation deck on April 1, 2022. Cafe Rion offers lunch menus, desserts, and various types of beverages. How about enjoying lunch or a drink with a spectacular view of Sensoji Temple?

Descend using the stairs and drop by the exhibition rooms on floors seven and six. The temporary exhibitions held here focus on traditional crafts that flourished in the Asakusa area or other elements of Japanese culture. On the second floor, there is a library where you can browse through books in English and other languages about Japan and its culture.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
Map Website
Business hours: 9:00 - 20:00 (*The observation deck is open until 22:00)
Estimated time needed: about one hour

2. Through Kaminarimon Gate to the Nakamisedori Shopping Street

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

Kaminarimon Gate, the entrance to Sensoji Temple, is located right in front of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center. The great lantern at the center of the gate is inscribed with the character 雷 (kaminari), which means "thunder" in Japanese.

The gods of wind and thunder, Fujin and Raijin, are enshrined on the front sides of the gate. On the backside, you'll find two other deities: Kinryu (Golden Dragon) and Tenryu (Heavenly Dragon). In Japanese spirituality, dragon deities control the water element. Kinryu and Tenryu are the guardian deities of Sensoji, protecting the temple and the entire district from natural disasters.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

When passing through the gate, remember to take a look at the beautiful dragon sculpture on the bottom of the great lantern.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

Nakamisedori is a 250-meter alley connecting Kaminarimon Gate to the main hall of the temple. The alley is lined with small shops handling souvenirs and snacks.

From postcards and traditional craft items to local confectionery, the variety of products on offer might be overwhelming. Nonetheless, Nakamisedori is one of the best places to shop for Tokyo souvenirs so do take the time to actually look at some of the stores that pique your interest.

Nakamisedori Shopping Street
Map Website
Business hours: each store has different business hours but most shops will be open by 10:00 and close at 19:00. (*Nakamisedori can be accessed even after dark but expect to find all the shops closed by 20:00.)
Estimated time needed: about 45 minutes

3. Sensoji Temple

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

Once you find yourself before the Hozomon Gate, you'll have reached the precincts of Sensoji Temple. This magnificent gate houses the temple's collection of Buddhist scriptures.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

The main hall enshrines Holy Kanzeon Bodhisattva, the main deity of Sensoji Temple. If you climb the stairs, you can actually take a peek inside; rituals and prayers are performed here during the day. The ceiling of the hall entrance is decorated with Buddhist paintings.

The origins of this temple go back to the year 628. According to legend, two fishermen brothers found a statue of the Holy Kanzeon Bodhisattva in the waters of Sumida River. The hall that was built in order to house this statue stands at the origins of Sensoji Temple.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

To the right of the main hall is Asakusa Shrine, which is dedicated to the fishermen who discovered the holy statue and the local community leader who built the original hall.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

There are several other beautiful structures in the temple precincts, including the Five-Story Pagoda, one of the very few pagodas in Tokyo. To the left of the main hall, there is a cluster of prayer halls dedicated to other deities cherished in Japan.

Sensoji Temple
Map Website
Opening hours: 6:00 - 17:00
Estimated time needed: about one hour

4. Asakusa Nishisando Shopping Street

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

If you proceed with the Five-Story Pagoda to your left, you'll soon reach Nishisando, an arcade shopping street. It is a rare example of a traditional shopping street with wooden flooring.

Here, too, you'll find various shops and dining facilities. In comparison to Nakamisedori, which mainly serves temple visitors who travel from afar, Nishisando has more shops that handle daily goods and are frequented by local residents.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

We suggest recharging with a sweet treat here. The melon bread made by Kagetsudo is a famous specialty of Asakusa.

Asakusa Nishisando Shotengai
Map Website (Japanese)
Business hours: vary by shop (*in general, shops open at 9:00 and close at 18:00)
Estimated time needed: about 30 minutes

5. Edo Taito Traditional Crafts Center

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

Once you exit Nishisando, go to the right and enter the Hisagodori Shopping Street. This is another picturesque shopping street that mainly serves the local community.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

Tucked among the shops of Hisagodori is the Edo Taito Traditional Crafts Center, a facility that we highly recommend to those interested in Japan's traditional crafts. This museum can be visited for free.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

The exhibits feature handicrafts that developed throughout the centuries in Asakusa and Tokyo. From kiriko glassware and intricate woodwork to traditional dolls, textile items, and woodblock prints, there is an amazing variety of traditional crafts on display.

Edo Taito Traditional Crafts Center
Map Website
Opening hours: 10:00 - 18:00
Estimated time needed: one hour

6. Stop for a Break on Hoppy Street

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

If you go back in the direction you came from and continue walking past Nishisando, you'll soon reach Hoppy Street. This alley is lined with Jpaanese taverns (izakaya) and dining facilities. How about enjoying a break at one of these establishments?

While most of them offer lunch and dinner menus, there are also cafes where you can drop by for a coffee and dessert. If you enjoy drinking, how about trying a glass of hoppy, the alcoholic beverage this street was named after?

Hoppy Street
Map
Business hours: vary by shop (*most of the dining facilities on Hoppy Street open around 11:00 and close at 21:00; some of the taverns operate until 23:00)
Estimated time needed: about one hour

7. Denpoindori Street and Orange Street

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

Once you exit Hoppy Street and go to the left, you'll reach Denpoindori, another picturesque shopping street; this part of Asakusa is said to be preserving the street layout from the Edo period (1603-1868).

This street was named after Denboin, one of the structures within the Sensoji temple complex. Denboin is a hall within a splendid Japanese garden; this garden is open to the public only for a limited time in the spring of each year.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

Among the many shops selling local items, a cluster of vintage kimono shops will most probably attract your attention with their colorful product displays. Kimono lovers will surely be tempted to take a closer look!

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

We suggest proceeding on Orange Street (called like this because the road itself is colored orange!), which is wider and has a quieter atmosphere. Just a few meters away from the regular tourist route, here you can get a feel of daily life in Asakusa.

Orange Street
Map
Estimated time needed: 30 minutes

8. Shin-Nakamisedori Shopping Street

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

Once you see this arcade shopping street to your left, do enter it. This is Shin-Nakamisedori, a vibrant shopping street that caters to the needs of both residents and tourists.

The reason we recommend it is the sheer variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants available here. If you're looking for a good sushi restaurant, drop by Magurobito. If you've wanted to taste green tea desserts and beverages, we recommend Yanagi Chaya.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

This street intersects with Nakamisedori. If you left souvenir shopping for last, now is your chance!

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

If you're looking for a refreshment to enjoy on the go, the strawberry smoothies offered by Asakusa Ichigoza are an excellent choice.

Asakusa in 2022: A Recommended Walking Route

At the end of Shin-Nakamisedori, you'll reach Asakusa Ekimise, a department store. This is also one of the Asakusa Station terminals where you can take a train toward your next destination.

Shin-Nakamisedori Shopping Street
Map Website (Japanese)
Business hours: vary by shop (*most shops operate between 10:00 and 18:00)
Estimated time needed: about one hour

Enjoy Your Visit to Asakusa

If you're not too tired, how about visiting Tokyo Skytree, which is just a 2-minute train ride or a 15-minute walk from Asakusa Ekimise? The tower looks stunning at night and the observation deck, located at the highest altitude in Tokyo, is open until late in the evening.

We hope this recommended route will help you orientate and that you'll enjoy your time exploring Asakusa.

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.