Visit Asakusa

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  • 浅草 Asakusa

Sensoji Temple is a 5-minute walk from its nearest station on Tokyo Metro, Tobu Isesaki Line etc, and has a strong presence of a 1400 year old historic building despite located in a bustling city. The symbolic raimon, which has also become the symbol of Asakusa, is extremely popular among tourists. Throughout the year there are different events and festivals that give the area a different look. Please stop by Asakusa the next time you are in Tokyo.

浅草 Asakusa
Asakusa is always full of people and interactions to enjoy its seasonal festivals, and its traditional streetscapes and culture. Senso-ji, the oldest temple in Tokyo, which features Kaminarimon, the gate with a huge hanging lantern that weighs 700kg, is considered to be the symbol of Asakusa. The temple was founded in 628 when the Shokan zeon bosatsu (statue of Kannon) was installed, and it welcomes around 30 million visitors each year.

The Kaminarimon gate and the Nakamise street leading to the temple are always bustling with people, whenever you visit, and the temple has been celebrating various traditional annual events, beginning with New Year visit, through to setsubun (the spring bean-throwing festival) and the hagoita-ichi (dedications to the Kannon at the end of the year in December) since the Edo period (1603-1867, when Japan was ruled by samurai), which are always extremely popular.

The Nakamise shopping street features shops selling doll-shape sweet cakes, as well as crackers named “Kaminari-okoshi”, traditional souvenir shops and restaurants, and a walk along this street gives you an insight into the hearts and minds of Edokko, known as Tokyoites. Leaving the far end of Nakamise street, you will see the statues of warriors positioned to the left and right hand sides of Hozomon with enormous woven straw shoes of 500kg positioned in front of the gate on both sides, which are said to ward off evil. Further on, you will find the Five-storied Pagoda, which has been rebuilt twice since it was founded in 942.

In front of the main temple, an incense burner is placed and it is said that if visitors waft the smoke from this incense burner onto themselves they will experience benefits to parts of their bodies that are unwell. This is just one of the places where, among the noise and bustle, you can experience a great sense of history. You can see Tokyo Sky Tree from the compound of Senso-ji, and both the Sky Tree and the temple are lit up at night, providing a unique nightscape. Rickshaws parade the area, helping visitors to visit local attractions, and there are many shops, selling everything from kimono-style gowns and t-shirts with Japanese characters written on them for visitors from overseas, through to fans used by kabuki actors and small traditional toys dating back to the Edo period, which are beloved by Japanese visitors.

In these shops, you will not be served by staff working according to a “training manual” - rather you will be treated warmly, by shop assistants who are both attentive and enthusiastic about hearty service to customers. Asakusa is one of the few places in Japan where you can still experience the attitude the Japanese people maintained to others when relationships between people were valued more highly.

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