Ever poplular Asakusa copyright chensiyuan (License)
The Asakusa area is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tokyo and there are many attractions, things to do and see (See map below). It is a place where the old atmosphere of Tokyo survives. There is a LOT to see in Asakusa but if you start early, you can fill your day with an interesting and exciting day! The most famous sites are "Kaminari Mon" (the main gate) and the main temple. Kaminari Mon is at the entrance of a long walk through tourist shops lining the main street. The "tourist" shops are just that but they do carry some interesting knick-knacks and goods you might be interested in so take a look. Also you will find "Soft" green tea ice cream cone shops, definitely get one of these! The area is generally filled with thousands of tourists from all over the world snapping photos of everything in site. Take your time and enjoy the sights!
Eating in Asakusa copyright Danny Choo (License)
There are many rail lines that have station in or near Asakusa but the easiest method is to take the Ginza Subway from Ueno, Its only about a 10 min. ride and the Ginza Subway station is very near the Kaminari Gate where you can start your meandering about. Instead of just bulldozing on in, snap a picture of yourself with an iconic building in the background and moving on... take a couple minutes to just gaze at the beauty, craftmanship and "meaning" of some of the structures.
Samurai Shop in Asakusa copyright Joseph Brent (License)
For a long time... hundreds of years, Asakusa was Tokyo's "playground". The entertainment district that had it all. When the district was outside the city limits it had kabuki theatres and a very large "Red Light" district. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, movie theaters also started to pop-up in Asakusa. Unfortunately during World War 2 large sections of Asakusa were destroyed and the "Entertainment" aspect of Asakusa never really returned. However, the temples, shrines and other attractions of Asakusa have really not only brought the city back, but have made it one of the top spots for tourists to hit when they are in Tokyo.
Below is a map that shows the more popular destinations in Asakusa and below the map is a list with a short description of each attraction. If you would like to read more about a specific attraction, most link to a detail page. You could easily fill a whole day by visiting all the attractions in Asakusa or just hit the "main" attractions in a few hours.
Areas of Interest in and around Asakusa
is a Buddhist Temple. Before World War 2 is was associated with the Buddhism "Tendai" Sect but after the war became independent. It is Tokyo's oldest temple, founded in 645, and one of the most significant Buddhist Temple's in Japan. Tokugawa Ieyasu designated Sensoji as the "Tutelary Temple" of the Tokugawa Clan... see more details
is also known as Sanja Sama (which literally means the "Shrine of Three Gods") is probably the most famous and most visited shrine in Tokyo. The shrine was founded and built in 1649 during the Edo Era under orders of Tokugawa Iemitsu. Strangely enough, this Shinto shrine was built to honor and worship the three men as deities who established... see more details
which literally means, "Thunder Gate" is the 1st gate that leads to the entrance of Sensoji, a temple in Asakusa Tokyo. Kaminarimon is VERY popular with local Japanese and tourists, Japanese and foreigners. The original gate was built in 941 by a military commander in another part of the Kantou region but was reconstructed... see more details
Hanayashiki Theme Park
is a theme / amusement park in Asakusa. It originally opened in 1852 as a "Flower Park" and claims to be the oldest amusement park in Japan. It is very close to Sensoji and offers numerous attractions, including a small Ferris wheel, roller coaster, carousel and Space Shot. As a "tourist" to Japan this may not be a "prime" destination... see more details
Naka Mise (Shopping Street)
From Kaminarimon to the grounds of Sensoji there is a walking and shopping street called "Naka Mise". Lined by more than 50 shops, each offers local specialties and tourist souvenirs.
Hours depend on each shop; between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. is standard
Sumida River Cruises
From the Sumida River Boat Terminal you can catch a variety of cruises that cruise down the Sumida River. A variety of companies operate out of the pier and leave every 30min. to an hour. These river cruises are especially popular in the evening or night with Japanese as some cruises offer dinners and drinking... and even karaoke. If your in Asakusa its easy enough to just stroll down to the pier and make a reservation but you can also ask your hotel clerk or check online. Here are a couple "River Cruise line" Websites:
Asakusa-Odaiba Direct Line
Sumida River Line
Tokyo Big Sight Palette Town
Asahi Beer Tower
This wild looking building was completed in 1989 and is the headquarters of Asahi Beer. There are many restaurants (and of course beer) in the building if you get the desire to stroll over to it.
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
; Asakusa is one of the biggest "Tourist" destinations in Tokyo for foreigners and Japanese visitors alike. Opened in 2012, the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center offers tourist information in multiple languages, free wifi, a cafe and an observation deck where you can look out and get a great view of Asakusa. Be sure to stop in here first on your visit to Asakusa.
is a park that runs along side the Sumida river for several hundred meters. During cherry blossom season this park is packed with Japanese enjoying the blossoms. Also during the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival
in July, this park is an optimal place to catch the fireworks.
Rokku Entertainment District
is an "Entertainment District". Before the war it used to be the most popular place for entertainment in Tokyo. Today, its a shadow of it's former self having never been able to make it back to it's former glory. There are some Movie Theaters in here and lots of Pachinko parlors. It is interesting to stroll down the back streets of this area and find some interesting camera shots.
is a museum that displays Japanese "Taiko" drums AND drums from around the world. Its a small yet very interesting museum where visitors actually bang on some of the drums. The museum is above the Miyamoto Unosuke Nishi Asakusa store. At the store you can buy a Taiko drum or Japanese festival goods if you like... see more details