Translated by Hilary Keyes
Asakusa Travel Guide: Savor The Past In The Historical Center Of Tokyo
Asakusa, an internationally known tourist destination in Tokyo, has everything from historical temples and shrines to ultra modern facilities like Tokyo SkyTree. Here is the perfect guide to seeing everything there is to do in this exciting area!
Written by OsawaKimie
What's Asakusa Like?
The representative sightseeing district in Tokyo, Asakusa has been a prosperous center of commerce and traditional arts since the Edo era. In the present day, this atmosphere still remains in the small shops and restaurants that have remained in more or less the same state since then, giving this townscape a charming, 'Japanese' air to it that attracts hundreds of visitors every day. And in 2012, Tokyo SkyTree, a 634 meter tall radio tower, observation deck and shopping facility opened nearby, making Asakusa into an area where cutting edge technology and traditional Japan intersect. This meant a new beginning for the area overall.
Table of Contents:
1. Recommended Sights in Asakusa
2. Tourist Information Centers and Services
3. How to Reach Asakusa
4. Getting Around in Asakusa
5. Model Sightseeing Routes to Take
6. Hotels in the Asakusa Area
7. Souvenir Shopping Spots and Recommended Stores in Asakusa
8. MATCHA's Most Recommended Restaurants and Gourmet Shops
9. Seasonal Events in Asakusa
10. Other Important Travel Information
Recommended Sights in Asakusa
With everything from history-rich temples and shrines to amusement parks, Asakusa is full of places you just have to see. Of these many attractions, here are our most recommended places, divided into easy to follow groups.
Temples and Shrines
Perhaps Tokyo's most celebrated sightseeing spot, Sensoji Temple is a Buddhist temple with a history spanning well over 1300 years. The roughly 700 kg red paper lantern of Kaminarimon is often said to be the billboard advertising this historical site.
If you pass through Kaminarimon gate, you will find yourself walking along Japan's oldest shopping street - Nakamise-dori, which has many souvenir shops and Japanese confectionery stores. This showy street leads all the way from the gate to the main building of the temple.
Incidentally, it is well-known among the locals that the omikuji from Sensoji often come up as 'kyo' (凶), which is bad luck. Other than being able to enjoy shopping and testing your luck at Sensoji, you can also take your time and thoroughly stroll about in the area all day long.
A few minutes' walk from Sensoji will bring you to the calm grounds of Asakusa Shrine. This very formal shrine was established in the year 628. Every May, this shrine holds the Sanja Matsuri, a traditional festival in which about 100 portable shrines gather in the grounds of the shrine, which is an incredible sight to see. If you would like to know more about this shrine, please take a look at this article: Asakusa Shrine, Right Next to Sensoji Temple.
Ootori Shrine holds the Tori no Ichi festival every November. In order to pray to the deities of this shrine for better fortunes in the coming year and for thriving business, throngs of people gather here to purchase talismans and lucky charms.
Asakusa's Matsuchiyama Shoden Temple
Said to grant prayers regarding fulfillment in love, family harmony, business prosperity and others to its worshipers, this little-known temple is one of thanksgiving. And, with the daikon radish as its distinctive but unusual symbol, you will be able to find daikon radish designs throughout the grounds.
Nishi-Asakusa Hachiman Shrine
Established in 1700, Nishi-Asakusa Hachiman Shrine holds the Nishi-Asakusa Hachiman Shrine Festival on the same day as the Sanja Matsuri. Not to be outdone by the Sanja Matsuri, this festival features impressive taiko drum performances and dozens of men shouldering omikoshi, shouting and cheering along the way.
Amusement and Recreational Facilities
The oldest amusement park in Japan, Hanayashiki is a theme park where you can enjoy the good old days in Japan. One of the attractions here also enables you to take a look out over the Asakusa townscape, making it a great place to take sightseeing photos of the area too.
Tokyo SkyTree is the tallest radio tower in Japan and was finished in 2012. Standing 634 m tall and known as the new symbol of Tokyo, SkyTree not only has a great viewing platform, but an aquarium, planetarium, a shopping mall and other facilities within its facilities, making it an incredibly popular place to visit.
Although not strictly in Asakusa, you can take many wonderful photos of SkyTree from several different locations within Asakusa itself.
Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum
Known as a treasury of Japanese traditional handicrafts, the Edo Shitamachi Museum is a facility wherein the industrial arts and culture of the common people of Edo's downtown have been protect and organized into exhibitions. Furniture, cookware, metal work and other items brought to life by the hands of skilled workers of the time are gathered here, demonstrating the living knowledge of the time. In their souvenir corner, some of Asakusa's proud traditional crafts can be purchased for a reasonable price as well. If you have the opportunity, don't forget to visit this amazing museum. To learn more, visit: Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum.
One of the most popular stalls at Japanese summer festivals are the kingyo sukui, or goldfish catching booths. If you can't be in Asakusa during festival season though, you can take part in kingyo sukui all year long at this special shop. And if you aren't really interested in catching goldfish themselves, there are many cute goldfish themed goods for sale here. Asakusa Kingyo - Catch Your Very Own Goldfish! introduces more about this shop.
There are countless numbers of festivals held in Japan.The Matsuri Museum is a special museum that focuses solely on those festivals that take place in Asakusa, telling of their history and unique culture. Within the museum you can see miniature recreations of the Sanja Matsuri on display, models of the mikoshi (portable shrines), and many other festival decorations; you are sure to feel surrounded by the fun festival atmosphere here. To see more of this unusual museum, check out See Japan's Festivals Any Time - Omatsuri Museum, Asakusa.
Well-known overseas, ukiyo-e are a typically Japanese art form wherein illustrations are created from layers of woodblock prints. Mokuhankan, located near Sensoji, is not only a place where you can buy products made with woodblock prints, but a workshop where you can take part in making your very own printed works as well. It costs 2000 yen per person (in the case of 2 booking together, 1500 yen each). Wouldn't you like to make your own truly unique souvenir print while in Japan too? Learn more about this workshop here: Learn How To Make Woodblock Prints At Mokuhankan - In English!.
Little Known Places to Enjoy in Asakusa
A little-known spot in Asakusa, Sumida Park is a long green park that runs alongside the Sumida river. Throughout the park there are unusually shaped white monuments with countless holes in them. If you go inside these monuments and look out through these holes, you will find yourself looking at a perfect view of SkyTree - they are designed with that view in mind. If you are sightseeing in the area and would like to take a short rest or would like to see a different view of SkyTree than usual, then we recommend visiting Sumida Park. Learn more about this park at: Sumida Park: Three Reasons to Visit This Little-Known Spot in Asakusa.
Asakusa's Underground Streets
With many standing soba shops and retro izakaya pubs, the Asakusa Underground Shopping Street is a favorite rest stop for the many business people who work in the area. This is one of the places in Asakusa that those tired of the standard sightseeing spots and brave enough to venture off the beaten path are sure to enjoy; here you will find the authentic atmosphere of Asakusa from several decades back. Nostalgic Japan: Asakusa's Underground Shopping Center has more on this nostalgic spot.
Tourist Information Centers and Services
In the traditional culture-centric regions of Asakusa, there are also tours designed with international visitors in mind. With everything from free tours, special tours led by local residents from Tomodachi Guide, and Muslim-specific tours managed by Trip Designer Muslim Friendly Tours, you can learn a wide variety of things about the area. If you would like to experience something different from everyone else while traveling in Asakusa, please take a look at these tour options.
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
There are countless numbers of sightseeing spots in Asakusa. But which spots should you see or what should you do if you happen to get lost here? If these are some of the worries you have, a friendly place that will assuage your fears can be found right near Sensoji. The Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center is a convenient sightseeing and geographical information center with staff and guidance in four different languages on hand. Not only that but this facility also has free Wi-Fi and AC charging stations for visitors.
On the top floor there is a free observation deck from which you can enjoy amazing views of Asakusa and the surrounding area. Learn more about this facility here: Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center: See Asakusa's History Come Alive!
How to Reach Asakusa
Reaching Asakusa from Narita Airport
To reach Asakusa, any of the following lines will do: Tokyo Metro Ginza line, Tobu Isesaki line, Tobu SkyTree line, Toei Asakusa line, or the Tsukuba Express. To directly reach Asakusa from Narita Airport, you will want to take the Keisei Narita Sky Access line (heading to Oshiage), which in most cases will also directly connect to the Toei Asakusa line and take you to Asakusa Station. Depending on the time there are also some trains which will not directly travel to Asakusa Station, so in that case get off at Aoto Station (on the Keisei line) and switch to the Toei Asakusa line bound for Oshiage. It will take about 57 minutes in total to travel from Narita to Asakusa, and cost 1290 yen.
Reaching Asakusa from Haneda Airport
The route from Haneda Airport to Asakusa is quite easy to understand, and quite reasonably priced. From either the Haneda Airport International or Domestic Terminal stations, take the Keikyu Kuuko line Airport Special Express bound for Narita Airport, and you will arrive at the Toei Asakusa line Asakusa Station in about 36 minutes. The fare costs 660 yen.
Traveling from Shinjuku
From Shinjuku, Tokyo's largest business district, to Asakusa takes about 26 by train. You will need to take two trains, the JR Chuo-Sobu line and the Toei Asakusa line. From JR Shinjuku Station, take the local Chuo-Sobu line bound for Chiba to Asakusabashi Station; this will take about 20 minutes. Then, switch to the Toei Asakusa line train bound for Aoto Station, and you will arrive at Asakusa Station in 2 minutes. The fare for this route costs 350 yen. If you are planning to visit Shinjuku, be sure to stop by Asakusa as well.
Traveling from Ueno
Ueno is another old downtown business district like Asakusa. When you want to travel from Ueno to Asakusa, you will need to take the Tokyo Metro Ginza line bound for Asakusa. The total fare is 170 yen and it takes about 5 minutes to reach Asakusa. For more about traveling from Ueno to Asakusa, please take a look at this article: Going from Ueno to Asakusa by Train.
If you are going to be traveling from Tokyo, Shibuya or Ginza stations, this article has the best routes for you to take: How To Reach Asakusa From Major Stations In Tokyo.
Getting Around in Asakusa
The vast majority of the sightseeing spots, souvenir shops, restaurants and highlights of Asakusa are all found within walking distance from the station. But if you would like to travel a bit more widely, then the bus, water taxi, rickshaw, rental bikes and other modes of transportation are our recommendation.
If you are going to be traveling with your family, then taking the bus might be best for you. Operating every day of the year, there is a Megurin bus at every stop throughout the Taito ward area every 15 minutes. The fare is only 100 yen, and there are low-floor buses which are perfect for the elderly and those with small children. To read more about this bus, refer to this link: Sightseeing from Asakusa's Tour Bus "Megurin".
For just 200 yen a day, you can rent a bicycle and cycle all around Asakusa. There are four bicycle rental spots around the Asakusa area, so if you are planning on visiting SkyTree, Ueno and other areas near Asakusa, this might be the best option for you. Try a Rental Bike to Get Around Asakusa has more on this fun service.
Flowing by Asakusa is the Sumida River, and taking in the view of this historical downtown from the river is certainly a valuable experience. TOKYO CRUISE, the water taxi, travels a course running from Asakusa to Hamarikyu, Hinodesanbashi, and Odaiba Beach Park. The fare for this means of transportation varies by destination, and ranges from 780 to 1280 yen. As you can take in many of the sightseeing spots during this ride, the water taxi is quite popular with tourists all year round. To find out more about this and other ways to travel in Asakusa, take a look at the following article: 4 Recommended Ways To Enjoy Asakusa Even More (Japanese).
One of the staples of sightseeing in Asakusa is the rickshaw, a two-wheeled carriage pulled by a person that seat two people. One of the charms of the rickshaw are the drivers themselves; as they are very well-versed in the history and area around Asakusa, they can take you anywhere and give you the latest information everything from famous places to little hole-in-the-wall spots that only the locals know. While there are many rickshaw companies working in Asakusa, Jidaisha in particular has a great reputation and offers various tour courses: from a 30 minute course costing 7000 yen per person, to the in-depth Asakusa course which takes 3 hours (and costs 32,500 yen per person), with numerous options in-between. Time for a Throwback: Take a Ride on Asakusa's Rickshaws has more on what you can see and do from a rickshaw in Asakusa.
Model Sightseeing Routes to Take
Now we would like to introduce some of MATCHA's model sightseeing courses where you are sure to get your fill of all there is to experience in Asakusa. For 5000 yen, this one day course allows you to not only wear a kimono but also enjoy an all-you-can-drink sake experience. To learn more of the details, please look at: 5000 Yen Plan For An Asakusa Stroll - Kimono and Sake Included!
This next plan costs only 1000 yen and enables you to not only appreciate Japan's traditional culture, but enjoy some matcha sweets as well. For more details on this plan, see: 5 Attractions For 1,000 Yen?! Exploring Asakusa On A Budget .
Hotels in the Asakusa Area
In Asakusa you will find many different types of accommodation to choose from: traditional style lodgings, ryokan inns, hostels done in Japanese styles, guest houses and more, all of which are popular with visitors to Japan. One of the more individualistic hotels in Asakusa is Khaosan World Asakusa Ryokan and Hostel.
Divided into three different styles of rooms, hostel, ryokan and love hotel, you can choose the best sort of room to suit your needs and budget here. Fashionable guest houses like Tokyo Hikari Guest House and Sakura Hostel Asakusa are quite popular with international visitors, as are ryokan inns like Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo. By deciding based on your mood and budget, you can easily find the perfect sort of accommodation for you in Asakusa. For more about the hotels in the area, take a look at: Area-Based Selection of Tokyo's Popular and Reasonable Hotels.
Souvenir Shopping Spots and Recommended Stores in Asakusa
If you're looking for souvenirs or find yourself getting a bit hungry while sightseeing in Asakusa, head to Nakamise-dori, the long, thin road that spreads out from Sensoji towards the station. Here you will find lots of old shops selling local Japanese sweets and retro, Asakusa-like souvenirs too. With cherry blossoms in spring and wind chimes in summer, the ornaments decorating this shopping street change seasonally, making it a place that you can visit any number of times without getting tired of it. A Guide to Asakusa's Popular Souvenir Street - Nakamise dōri has more information on this street.
A 5 minute walk from Tawaramachi Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza line, Kappabashi Dogu-gai is an 800 m long shopping street located between Asakusa and Ueno. 'Dogu-gai' or Tool Street, is so named because this is where you will find shop after shop selling kitchen tools and implements. Japanese chefs and cooks from all over come to Kappabashi to purchase their tools, so if you would like to get some of your own professionally approved of kitchen items, head this way. A Guide to Asakusa's Popular Souvenir Street - Nakamise Dori gives more details on shopping here.
Renovated in 2013, the Nishi Sando shopping street has been a familiar shopping area for the locals for many years in Asakusa. One of the charms of the Nishi Sando shopping street, located to the west of Sensoji Temple, is its warm wooden road. Made with the theme of a Japanese festival in mind, you are sure to enjoy just walking down this colorful shopping street. See Nishi Sando: Wooden Shopping Arcade in Asakusa for more.
As there are many Japanese style items and traditional handicrafts to choose from in Asakusa, this is the best place to check out if you are looking for souvenirs. If you've enjoyed shopping in the old Japanese sweets shops and food stores, this building also offers ideal viewing spots for Tokyo SkyTree, making it a very useful souvenir and rest place indeed.
Asakusa ROX is a large shopping building that not only has clothing and daily goods stores, but baths, accommodations, a fitness gym with a pool and other facilities in it. At Matsuriyu, a hot spring located on the 6th and 7th floors, they also offer a service wherein you can directly go from your bathing experience right to your accommodations. This is an excellent option for those who are tired from their shopping and sightseeing and need a place to refresh themselves.
Don Quijote Asakusa
If you are looking to buy a lot of souvenirs for a reasonable price, then a trip to the discount store Don Quijote is just what you need. Selling everything from Japanese goods, cosmetics, appliances, food and more, the abundant variety of items available here are all sold at lower prices than in standard shops. To get more information about this superstore, check out: 5 Reasons To Get Your Souvenirs At Don Quijote (Japanese).
Address: Tokyo, Taito 2-20
Shops Picked by MATCHA's Editors
Other than enjoying the great foods, one thing you can't forget to do while in Asakusa is to check out the souvenirs. And Asakusa has plenty to choose from; Japanese-style accessories and goods, artisanal and traditional handicrafts and so on. Here are the best shops to find souvenirs at, according to MATCHA's editors.
A 5 minute walk from Asakusa Station, Palm, on Edogawa-dori, is a prominent general store selling unique, hand-selected items and ornaments from Minamioshima. See more of their products at: Shopping in Asakusa: Variety Goods in “Palm” with Love.
Fujiyama is a great souvenir shop selling lots of original, Japanese style miscellaneous goods. Here you will find a wide selection of fun souvenir items, from Mount Fuji shaped accessories to Japanese patterned T-shirts and more. More of their products can be viewed at: Shopping at "Asakusa FUJIYAMA" for an Old-Town Mood.
Toshogama in Kappabashi is where to go if you want to find modern designed Japanese cookware. Based on the concept of 'Japanese modern', you are certain to find a few items of tableware that strike your fancy. Shopping in Asakusa: Beautiful Tableware in Toushougama has more on this shop.
Hinomoto Hanpu Asakusa
Hinomoto Hanpu Asakusa is a shop selling bags that you will find it very hard to stop using once you start. Made from canvas, each bag sold at Hinomoto Hanpu are both durable and well-crafted; they are excellent items to take home as souvenirs. See more of these bags and their other products here: Hinomoto Hanpu in Asakusa - Canvas Bags That Improve Through Time.
For those cooking enthusiasts and chefs looking for the perfect knife, Kamata the knife specialty store on Kappabashi Dogu-gai is the number one place you should go. With customers coming from all across Japan and even the world, here you are sure to find the best kitchen knife for you. To learn more about the knives themselves and the history of the shop, look here: The Perfect Blade! Finding Knives at Kamata in Kappabashi.
A popular shop that has been the topic of plenty of conversations in recent years in Asakusa is Konnyaku Shabon, an organic cosmetics store. Made using konnyaku, these squishy, springy and fresh cosmetics are excellent for those with sensitive skin, making this a particularly popular shop. Gotta Love The Squish! Organic Cosmetics At Konnyaku Shabon, Asakusa has more on their products.
At first glance, Japonica Lodge looks like a usual Japanese tea cafe. But, when you go further into the shop, you will soon see camping tents pitched all around! Here you can actually spend the night in a tent - in the cafe! Not only that, but throughout the store you will find plenty of information and guidance on camping in countries around the world on display too. If you would like to enjoy something Japanese while also appreciating outdoor culture, then please head to Japonica Lodge. See more of the tents and facilities here: Japonica Lodge in Asakusa - The Outdoor Gear Store Where You Can Stay!
MATCHA's Most Recommended Restaurants and Gourmet Shops
Asakusa is not just a history-rich place with great shopping - there are also plenty of fine dining establishments, cafes, and shops with delicious treats and edible souvenirs to enjoy as well.
Asakusa is also a celebrated gourmet town, with shops selling tempura, sushi, sukiyaki, monjayaki and other great Japanese dishes. The always queued Namikiyabu Soba restaurant is a well-established soba noodle shop with a 100 year old history in this area.
Their menu is overflowing with all of the most popular buckwheat noodle dishes, like zarusoba, where you can enjoy the original taste of the noodles, the healthy yamakake soba, and the winter favorite, kamonanban soba. To learn more about these dishes, read Namikiyabu Soba: a 100 Year-Old Soba Shop Loved By Everyone! (Asakusa).
Komagata Dozeyo was established in 1801 and is a shop serving dishes featuring an expensive ingredient - the loach. This luxurious fish is boiled in a sweet miso soup in the dish Dojo nabe, which is a refined dish that all should try at least once. For more about their menu, look at: Try Traditional Loach Fish Gourmet at ”Komagata Dozeyo”, Asakusa.
Also running a shop on the Nakamise-dori, Funawa is a 100 year old Japanese sweets store of longstanding in Asakusa. Their signature sweet is the imo yokan, a sweet mashed yam cake that is said to taste as good as a sweet yam on its own; their foods have a simplicity to their flavoring that many find charming. As these confections are made with natural ingredients and not overly processed, those who are not big fans of sweet foods will probably really enjoy their products. Sensoji, Asakusa: Top 6 Food Selections has more on this shop.
When it comes to sweets in Asakusa, imo yokan aren't the only kinds available. Kameju's dorayaki, (a pancake-like sandwich stuffed with filling), just melt in your mouth, the soft pastry of the pancake being their most famous point. Easy to eat as you walk, these dorayaki also make perfect presents. Check out Kameju, the best Dorayaki in Asakusa!
Andesu Matoba Bakery
Anpan is a sweet bun filled with red bean paste that was invented in Japan. A shop of longstanding, Andesu Matoba Bakery carries over 20 varieties of this bun, making it one of the most famous anpan shops in the region. With kusadango anpan (herb-based anpan) and pumpkin anpans among the flavors, this is the perfect place to find unusual types of this popular snack. Read more about their varieties and shop here: Taste 20 Types of Red Bean Breads at Andesu Matoba Bakery.
Umezono is a Japanese-style sweet cafe with a history spanning 160 years. Their most famous yet simple item is their awazenzai, a steamed red bean mochi bun. Located right by the Nakamise-dori, Umezono is a great place to stop for a break in the afternoon. UMEZONO, Asakusa - A Delicious Treat Awaits You! has more on this historical shop.
Kagurachaka Petit Asakusa
A shop with two faces, Kagurachaka Petit Asakusa is a cafe where you can enjoy freshly ground green tea and original Japanese parfaits by day and a bar with green tea-flavored drinks by night. This unique shop is especially good on holidays when you want to spend time with friends or partners. Read Taste Delicious Freshly Ground Matcha at Kagurachaka Petit, Asakusa for more.
The amazing jumbo melon buns at Asakusa Kagetsudo have been featured on various media outlets. With a crunchy exterior and fluffy soft interior, on the weekends over 2000 of these incredible buns are sold each day, making them a favorite of many. Get a closer look at these melon buns here: Want to Try Crispy Jumbo Melon Bread? Head to Asakusa's Kagetsudo!
Suzukien Asakusa Main Shop
If you would like to try the richest green tea gelato in the world, then look no further than Suzukien Asakusa. Using the matcha green tea as it stands, this rich and deep gelato will have to addicted to its flavor in no time. For more about this addictive experience, read: Try the Richest Matcha Gelato in the World at Asakusa Suzukien.
Kakigori, shaved ice, is the food the Japanese think of when hearing the word summer. At the green tea specialty shop Chakura you can enjoy original shaved ice dishes topped with green tea, adzuki and ice cream too. The soft ice melts instantly on the tongue as the flavor spreads; a surefire way to relieve the heat of Japan's intense summers.
Asakusa Kibidango Adzuma
Asakusa Kibidango Adzuma, another well-established shop, stands on Nakamise-dori and sells exactly what its name implies, kibidango (millet dumplings). The hot, steamed dumplings have a simple sweetness to them, which is their own trait, and they create an amazing harmony inside your mouth. These dumplings make the perfect accompaniment to cold green tea on a hot summer day.
A common dessert or snack in Japan, taiyaki are fish-shaped cakes made from wheat flour that has red bean paste and other fillings wrapped in it before being cooked on a special griddle. Asakusa's Kurikoan has a special summer menu featuring whipped cream and red bean mixed cold kurikoyaki which are popular with younger people.
Located near the Asakusa View Hotel, Asakusa Naniwaya is a cafe well-known for its fluffy shaved ice and exquisitely flavored red bean taiyaki. This shop is so popular that, on weekends and holidays, you are sure to see rows of people lined up just waiting for a seat. If you would like to visit this shop, we recommend heading in on a weekday instead in the early afternoon to dusk. For more about sweets in Asakusa, take a look at this article: 5 Cool Treats To Enjoy In Asakusa!
Kombu no Kawahito
An important ingredient in Japanese home-cooking is kombu (edible kelp). Kombu no Kawahito is where you will find sakura petal and even Japanese character kombu cut outs for sale. Take a look at Decorative Kombu? Creative Ways to Use Kombu at Kawahito, Asakusa for more.
Kurand Sake Market
For fans of Japanese sake, we would like to recommend visiting Kurand Sake Market, a well-known shop with over 100 varieties of sake and a limitless, all-you-can-drink sake plan. Kurand Sake Market: Unlimited Tasting of 100 Japanese Sakes in Asakusa has more details.
If you would like to enjoy sushi while in Asakusa, head to Magurobito, located near Kaminarimon and on Shin-Nakamise-dori. This shop serves exceptionally fresh and delicious maguro tuna and almost always has a line of customers waiting out front. Read Sushi in Asakusa? Check Out These 13 Stops! for more on Magurobito.
Asakusa's Mizuguchi Shokudo is a great cheap restaurant with an amazing authentic old Japan atmosphere. Serving home-cooking style dishes like ginger-fried pork and meat and potato stew, as well as a good selection of Japanese sake in a comfortable and relaxing space, this is a hidden yet famous shop in Asakusa. Asakusa "Mizuguchi Shokudo" - A Good Old Fashioned Japanese Dinner has more about this great restaurant.
Asakusa Kokonoe is best known for its fried dumplings, known as age-manju. The inside of these dumplings contains green tea and red bean paste, sakura and red bean paste and many other varieties of anko. Take a look at Food in Asakusa: Snacks "Agemanju"from "Asakusa-kokonoe" to learn more.
Omoshiro Okashi Nakaichi
Omoshiro Okashi Nakaichi is a shop selling some truly amazing, multi-colored amezaiku (artistically shaped candies) that come in funny packaging. As they are such bright, unique sweets, these make perfect souvenirs for children. Look at Food in Asakusa: Artisan Cute Japanese Lollipops! to see more of their products.
With its retro appeal, the comfortable tea shop Tengoku is best known for its delicious pancakes. Standing on a quiet side street from Nakamise-dori, Tengoku is a beloved rest spot of the locals in the Asakusa area and perfect place to take a break from all the hustle and bustle. See Tengoku - Asakusa's Retro Slice of Heaven for more on this heavenly spot.
Seasonal Events in Asakusa
Throughout the year there are many different festivals held in Asakusa. In April, the Nakizumo is an unusual event where infants around 1 year of age are handed to different sumo wrestlers, and the baby that can cry the loudest of all is the winner.
May: Sanja Matsuri
© Y.Shimizu/© JNTO
Asakusa's representative festival, Sanja Matsuri sees 100 omikoshi (portable shrines) and their attendants gather together in the grounds of Asakusa Shrine to shout, dance and parade about the streets of Asakusa, which ring with the sounds of these revelers.
July: Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri/Hozukishi
July's Shitamachi Tanabata Festival sees stripes of brightly colored paper with wishes written on them hanging from bamboo stalks all throughout the streets of Asakusa, as well as the Hozuki-ichi (Ground Cherry Market) at Sensoji, where talismans in this form are sold. See Asakusa's Summer. Kappabashi Dori during Tanabata Festival and Ground Cherry Market at Sensoji - How Summer Kicks Off! for more.
August: Asakusa Samba Carnival
The streets of Asakusa are dyed in the colors of samba during the annual Samba Carnival that takes place in the last weeks of August.
November: Tori no Ichi
Tori no Ichi is a three part festival that takes place during the month of November. During this time, those praying for prosperous business and disaster prevention can purchase a kumade (decorative bamboo rake), talisman from Otori Shrine.
If you happen to be visiting Asakusa at the end of the year, you will find an incalculable number of hagoita or battledore (an early badminton racket) on display and for sale. These toys have been historically believed to be lucky amulets against evil spirits in Japan, so if you are in Asakusa at the end of the year, why not find a colorful battledore to give to someone as a gift?
Other Important Travel Information
If you are traveling in Japan and are in need of some assistance, please refer to these and other helpful MATCHA articles.