Asakusa

Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

Located in Taito-ku along the west bank of the Sumida-gawa River, the Asakusa district once thrived as a temple town for the nearby Senso-ji Temple, but now it is a downtown area that rivals Ginza, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Shibuya.

At one time Asakusa was Tokyo's leading entertainment district, with kabuki theaters and a large red light district. During World War II large parts of Asakusa was bombed and destroyed. While the area around the rebuilt Senso-ji has regained its former popularity after the war, the same cannot be said for Asakusa's entertainment district, which has now been surpassed by Shinjuku and other colorful areas in the city.

Asakusa has plenty of charm with its colorful location and relaxed atmosphere by Tokyo standards. A beautiful summer day is best spent under a shady tree by Sumida, eating a couple of senbeis, relaxing and watching the passers-by.

Asakusa can be easily explored on foot. Alternatively, you can consider a guided tour on a rickshaw (jinrikisha, lit. "man powered vehicle"). A 30 minute tour for two persons costs around 8,000 yen.

Asakusa Attractions

Kaminarimon and Hozomon Gates

Kaminarimon Gate, Asakusa Attractions, Tokyo, Japan

Kaminarimon Gate is one of the two main entrances leading to the Senso-ji Temple. It is over 1,000 years old and is today a well-known symbol of Asakusa. The Nakamise-dori shopping lane stretches 300 meters from Kaminarimon Gate to Hozomon Gate, a much bigger gate which leads to the temple grounds.

Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Opening Hours: Always open
Admission: Free

Senso-ji Temple

Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa Attractions, Tokyo, Japan

Senso-ji Temple is Tokyo's most revered Buddhist temple, and also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo. Built in the 7th century, it is also one of Tokyo's oldest temples, although the current buildings are postwar reconstructions, since most of the temple was destroyed in the air raids of World War II.

Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Opening Hours: 06:00 to 17:00 daily (Oct-Mar from 06:30)
Admission: Free

Asakusa Shrine (Asakusa Jinja)

Asakusa Shrine was built during the Edo period and is still intact today. The annual festival Sanja Matsuri is one of Tokyo's most popular and spectacular festivals. It is held here in late May and lasts for three days, attracting up to 2 million visitors. Asakusa Shrine is located just south of Senso-ji.

Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Opening Hours: Always open
Admission: Free

Dempoin Temple

A temple famous for its beautiful garden, but now unfortunately closed to the public. You can however admire it from afar. Dempoin Temple is located just west of Senso-ji.

Nearest Station: Asakusa Station

Hanayashiki Amusement Park

Hanayashiki Amusement Park, Asakusa Attractions, Tokyo, Japan

With a history of more than 150 years, this was originally opened as a flower park. Today it is a miniature amusement park and one of the most popular Tokyo attractions for children. Hanayashiki Amusement Park offers numerous attractions including a roller coaster, carousel, small Ferris wheel, and Space Shot.

Address: 2-28-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Telephone: +81 3-3842-8780
Website: http://www.hanayashiki.net
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (closed Tuesdays)
Admission: Adults/Children 900/400 yen plus separate fees for rides.

Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum

Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum, Tokyo, Japan

This small museum, located near the Senso-ji Temple introduces traditional handicrafts which concentrated the skills of craft workers that were cultivated and inherited in the history and climate of "Shitamachi" (old Tokyo in Edo period). Demonstrations of craft making by artisans are held on weekends.

Address: 2-22-13 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Telephone: +81 3-3842-1990
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 20:00 daily
Admission: Free

Asahi Beer Tower

Asahi Beer Tower, Asakusa Attractions, Tokyo, Japan

Since completion in 1989, the Asahi Beer Tower and the Asahi Super Dry Beer Hall have become some of the most distinctive landmarks in the Asakusa area. With its amber-colored glass windows and top frieze of white external walls, the 22-story Asahi Beer Tower captures the essence of a gigantic mug of foamy beer. The adjoining Asahi Super Dry Beer Hall (representing a torch with a golden flame on top) was designed by the noted French designer Philippe Starck and the “Flaming Ornament” on the roof is a symbol of Asahi Breweries’ dynamic heart.

Address: 1-23-1 Azumabashi, Sumida-Ku, Tokyo
Telephone: +81 3-5608-5111
Website: http://www.asahibeer.co.jp

Asakusa Samba Carnival

Asakusa Samba Carnival, Attractions, Tokyo, Japan

It might seem strange with a samba-event in Japan, but the annual Asakusa Samba Carnival has grown each year since it first was held in 1981. On the last Sunday in August, thousands of participants and even more spectators gather to celebrate in the streets of Asakusa. This is the most important festival throughout the year for the relatively large Brazilian population living in Japan.

Sumida River Cruise

Sumida River Cruise, Attractions, Tokyo, Japan

Sumida River sightseeing ships operate every 30 to 60 minutes from Asakusa Pier via Hama Rikyu Garden to Hinode Pier (from where it is possible to change boat and head on to Odaiba in Tokyo Bay). The boat trip between Asakusa and Hinode takes about 40 minutes and costs ¥ 760.

Sumida Park

Sumida Park, which stretches along the river, is very popular and particularly beautiful in spring when more than 1,000 sakura-trees (cherry-trees) are in full bloom. Sumida River Firework Festival is held here every year on the last Saturday in July.

Address: Hanakawado, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Opening Hours: Always open
Admission: Free

Asakusa Shopping

Nakamise-dori

Nakamise-dori, Asakusa Shopping, Tokyo, Japan

The Nakamise-dori shopping lane stretches over approximately 300 meters from Kaminarimon Gate to the main grounds of Senso-ji Temple. It is lined by more than 50 shops, which offer local specialties and the usual array of tourist souvenirs.

Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Website: http://www.asakusa-nakamise.jp

Shin-nakamise

Shin-nakamise is a shopping street that runs perpendicular to the Nakamise-dori (see above). It is a covered shopping arcade lined by various shops and restaurants.

Kappabashi-dori

Kappabashi-dori, Asakusa Shopping, Tokyo, Japan

Kappabashi is an almost one kilometer long street lined by shops catering to restaurant businesses. Items on sale include tableware, kitchen utensils and appliances, sample food made of wax and plastic, furniture, signs, lanterns and uniforms. Kappabashi-dori is located between Asakusa and Ueno.

Nearest Station: Tawaramachi Station, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
Website: http://www.kappabashi.or.jp

Tobu Asakusa Station & Matsuya Department Store

Tobu Asakusa Station is the terminal station of Tobu trains heading into the suburbs and prefectures north of Tokyo, including trains to Nikko. The station building also houses a Matsuya department store that spans eight floors, with everything from luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada and Mui Mui to Japan's top products and traditional handicrafts.

Address: 1-4-1 Hanakawado, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Telephone: +81 3-3842-1111
Website: http://www.matsuya.com
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 19:30 daily

Rox

Rox, Asakusa Shopping, Tokyo, Japan

Rox is a shopping and entertainment complex consisting of a main building (Rox) and three annex buildings (Rox-2G, Rox-3 and Rox Dome). Many shops sell fashion for ladies and kids. Matsuri Bathhouse on the seventh floor offers eleven different types of baths and saunas. Relax in the Esthetic Room or the Relaxing Room, or you can even doze off in the Napping Room!

Address: 1-25-15 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Website: http://www.rox.co.jp (Japanese only)
Opening Hours: 10:30 to 21:00 daily

TDI Knife Shop

TDI is one of the best knife shops in the Asakusa's Kappabashi area. With a knowledgeable staff and an outstanding collection of knives, including the world-famous knife brand Global.

Address: 1-9-13 Matsugaya, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Telephone: +81 3-3844-7561
Website: http://www.kwtdi.com
Opening Hours: 09:30 to 17:30 daily

Asakusa Restaurants

Oiwake

Oiwake is one of the best-known folk music bistros in Japan, offering a 40-minute shamisen and folksong live performance three times per day at 19:30, 21:00 and 22:30. Food here is tasty and very affordable.

Address: 3-28-11 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Iriya Station (Exit 2), Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line
Telephone: +81 3-3844-6283
Website: http://www.oiwake.info (Japanese only)
Opening Hours: 17:30 to 24:00 (closed Mondays)
Admission: ¥ 2,000 "music charge"

Nuchigusui

Nuchigusui, Asakusa Restaurant, Tokyo, Japan

Let the helpful wait staff guide you through the menu filled with Okinawan fare and awamori liquor at this island-themed bar in old-town Asakusa.

Address: 1-20-5 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Telephone: +81 3-5828-6788
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 17:30 to 23:30, Sat-Sun 12:00 to 23:30

Hatsuogawa

This small and very traditional family-run unagi shop prepares eel the old-fashioned way, beginning preparation once you've placed your order. The unaju box is particularly delicious, or go for kabayaki eel skewers with rice on the side. Budget around 2,500 yen for lunch or dinner.

Address: 2-8-4 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station
Telephone: +81 3-3844-2723
Opening Hours: 12:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 20:00 (Sundays open for dinner only)