Translated by GonzalezLaura
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center: See Asakusa's History Come Alive!
Written by OsawaKimie
Asakusa, a town prospering as the center of politics and commerce during the Edo period is now known as a Tokyo tourism hub. Taking a look back at Asakusa's history, the hint to solve this riddle may lie in the topography of the land.
Asakusa, a town prospering as the center of politics and commerce during the Edo period, is now well known as a Tokyo tourism hub. Out of Tokyo's 23 wards, Taito ward (housing Asakusa) has the smallest land area. Despite this, Asakusa manages to attract 20 million travelers yearly (according to a Taito Ward 2012 statistical survey). Why is it that people, commerce, and tourism resources are all concentrated in this small area of downtown? Taking a look back at Asakusa's history, the hint to solve this riddle may lie in the topography of the land. To figure this riddle out, first let's take a look around the town.
A Hidden Shutter Spot! Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center's Observation Terrace
This is a little-known spot which you can take in a view of all of Asakusa. Located in front of the Kaminarimon Gate is the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center. This tourism information center features an information counter and exhibition space to help you enjoy Asakusa more efficiently.
Once you go up to the 8th floor on the elevator, you'll have the observation terrace right before your very eyes. The appeal here is that you can get your fill of Asakusa's scenery for the astonishing price of, free.
Get a Bird's-Eye View of Asakusa
If you look north, you can get a clear picture of Sensoji, the shrine with upwards of 3 million yearly visitors. What would usually be a desperate battle against the crowds to get the perfect shot, will be a non-issue when taking a picture from the terrace, where you can take a picture without having anybody obstruct your view.
You unknowingly let out a sigh as you take in the grandeur of nearly 250 meters of Nakamise-dori, along with the leisurely standing 5 story pagoda.
Over to the east side you can see the "Tokyo Skytree", built in 2012, as well as the "Flamme d'Or" or, more commonly known as, the Asahi Beer Hall. Next to the skyscrapers, upwards of 23 kilometers in height, runs the Sumida River, which sends some refreshing wind to cool off the steaming-hot offices.
It might not be such a bad idea to take in a view of Sensoji, its overwhelming presence, sticking out boldly from Asakusa's flat surface, from the terrace.
Good to Know: Taito Ward, Asakusa's Terrain
Here we'll explain about Taito Ward, Asakusa's topography. Places like Taito Ward, which are lowlands and there's little elevation difference, are typically thought of as susceptible to inundation. Taking this into consideration, the people of Asakusa long past built shrines such as Sensoji on slightly higher land. Craftsmen colonized this area, which was more resistant to disaster than others, and around the same time Monzenmachi was formed. Also, due to the development of water transport on the Sumida River, commerce blossomed, and during the Edo Period merchantsssfrom all over town gathered at the Wholesale District (wholesale shops).
It might be thanks to the work of those Asakusa residents of the past that made use of the land's unique features to build the Asakusa that even now is a prosperous tourist area. Next you time you stop by Asakusa, take a good look at the land's features as you go around the town!
Asakusa Culture Information Tourist Center
Address:ss2-18-9 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo-to
Business Hours: 9:00-20:00（Miharashi Cafe is from 10:00、Observation Terrace is until 22:00）
Holidays: Open Year Round
Access: 3-minute walk from Toei Asakusa Line Asakusa Station A4 Exit
3-minute walk from TOBU Isesaki Line Asakusa Station
10-minute walk from Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station
Official Homepage: Asakusa Travel Tourism Information Center