Making the most of your trip.
This is the challenge of all travelers, and it seems even more challenging when you travel in this huge/gigantic city called Tokyo.
As you go through your travel guide, you may wonder where would it be best to start to dive into the Japanese experience successfully. Well, let us help you: a walking tour in Asakusa.
Although touristic, this area is one of the most interesting places to start your journey in the capital.
You can experience the harmonious mix of the traditional and the modern that makes Japan so special.
Located in Taito-ku, Asakusa is well known for being an area typical of the Edo period style (1603-1867). The area was one of the most dynamic and popular areas during the Edo period and its vibe can be felt while walking through the small streets. The architecture, the small Izakayas, the theaters, the tea houses and craft shops are part of the area’s heritage that keep the formerly famous entertainment area alive.
As you walk around, sometimes it feels as if time has been stopped.
Start your discovery well equipped by stopping by the Asakusa Tourist Information center, a beautiful building designed by the famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, where there is a wonderful selection of leaflets and maps.
Head up to the rooftop floor to enjoy an overview of the area you are about to visit. You will be greeted by the amazing view of the Sumida river, the famous Tokyo Skytree, the Asahi building topped with the golden artwork signed by Stark (everyone has a cheeky nickname for it, which actually shows the affection of Tokyoites for this piece). When moving onto the left side you will have a stunning view of the Kaminarimon gate and the busy street of Nakamise leading to Senso-ji temple.
The visit starts by going through the Kaminarimon gate and its enormous bell that is 4 meters high. On each side of the door, the guardians Fujin (God of wind) and Raiji (God of thunder) are keeping the place safe with their threatening look. One opens the mouth as if to say "a", the 1st letter of the Japanese alphabet while the other close the mouth is if he pronounces the letter "n" the last letter of the alphabet: everything begins and ends here.
This is where Nakamise-dori begins. This 250 meter long shopping street, considered to be the oldest in Tokyo, displays a full range of traditional souvenirs and tradional Japanese street food. Even though most of the shops have beautiful products, the crowd of tourists makes it less enjoyable to shop in this area. A quick visit and a couple of stops
Trying the food delicacies, like dango or dorayaki, is enough. If you want a less crowded path, walk along the back alley, behind the shops where it is also possible to find souvenirs and restaurants. After a few minutes, the beautiful Senso-ji will reveal its gates along with Goju-no-to, the impressive 5 story pagoda.
Built in the 7th century, it is the oldest temple in Tokyo and one the most representative landmark of the capital. The temple itself has a beautiful collection of paintings on the ceilings and beautiful architecture.
When going out of the temple, on the left side of Senso-ji you will find the Asakusa Shinto shrine, which can make you wonder about the difference between these two religions. To make the long story short, Buddhism is a religion that came from India through China and Korea from the 5th century whereas Shintoism is a religion born in Japan. Shrines and temples are sometimes near to each other but the shrines can be identified by the gate called “Torii” at the entrance.
On the right, head to a small traditional Japanese garden and its pond. While strolling around you will head up to the covered shopping streets and the old entertainment area. Walk freely around this area, into the small streets among the small traditional shops.
When the sun comes down, Asakusa shows its full beauty: the Nakamise street shops are closing, the crowd of tourist is leaving, the lights enhance the beautiful red exterior of Senso-ji and the locals enjoy few drinks in small restaurants.
But this is only the end of the beginning- it is almost impossible to exhaust all the possibility of Tokyo- a city of the old and new!
By booking a walking tour on Amida Tour, our Amida guides will show you their favorite parts of this old area, where the magic happens