Translated byYuko Perry
Looking for some great shopping in Asakusa? We'll show you Nishi Sando for great souvenirs!
Translated byYuko Perry
Written by Shiori Nakajima
When you see Sensou-ji temple in front of you, turn left and then straight ahead. There you will see a building with a colourful decor.
If you look above you, you can see the large versions of the cards used in a Japanese traditional card game (Hanafuda) and festive pictures are also displayed on the walls. This building is the gate of 'Nisi Sando' arcade which was newly refurbished in 2014.
As soon as you arrive on the shopping arcade, you will notice the sequence of wooden boards under your foot. This delicate wooden work is built with natural cypress, adding a soft and tender atmosphere.
Currently in Japan, surfacing public roads with wooden materials is banned. The reason why it was possible here is that the Nisi Sando is part of the private land belonging to the Sensou-ji temple.
After checking out below, you should look above. The shopping street is an arcade with a retractable roof. Therefore you can enjoy shopping on rainy days, and you can also enjoy the sunshine on sunny days.
The columns and windows are painted bright red and each shop has ornamental tiles, lanterns or store curtains (Noren) along the eaves. Matching the colour with the exterior reminds people of Ukiyo-e town scenes during the Edo period.
Now, you should have a look around the shops. Although the arcade is approximately 100 meters only, there are about 40 shops there and they all have their own characteristics.
In addition to delectable eateries such as 'Ramen Namara', which I have previously written, there is a very popular off-licence and a colourful kimono shop.
There is also an antique shop 'Izumidou' which is the best place to look for unusual souvenirs. You can find all these shops in this arcade. You will enjoy it just for doing some window shopping.
'Ichiryou-ya Hirakawa' has a selection of Japanese swords which will make you think of Samurai warriors. You will be trapped by the beauty of the swords.
What did you think about Nishi Sando, the Japanese traditional arcade?
Nishi Sando is full of many unique shops. The length of the street is just perfect for visit. Weekends are the best time to visit the arcade because there are various events such as festival performances from all over Japan and also gigs by Japanese ballad (enka) singers.
Nishi Sando Arcade
Address: 2-7-13 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Post Code:111-0032
Holidays: Depends on each shop
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
How to get here: 5 mins walk from Asakusa Station (Tsukuba Express line)
10 mins walk from Asakusa Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza line, Toubu Sky Tree line)