7 Things To Do In Asakusa, Tokyo
Asakusa is one of the main sightseeing spots in Tokyo. It has a smell of old, historical Tokyo like nowhere else. There are many small little alleys with unique shops, and is particularly famous for Sensoji Temple.
Even though easily accessible by foot, I highly recommend you to hop on the rickshaw to go around the town where the macho men will introduce you to the history of the town, buildings, shops, and restaurants, as well as to other fun facts. Here are 7 things to do in Asakusa.
1. Put on Kimono and take photos
The store provides three dress-up plans at different prices and they allow you to dress up in pretty kimonos and then take a stroll around the area. The designs have got quite a variety and the staff can be your kimono stylist for the day. The whole experience is 4000 yen. Visit Yumenoya website (http://www.tokyo-samurai.com) for more information
2. Be a Sumurai Trainer
Want to know how to fight like a samurai? Yoo can also take a Ninja Lesson at Yumenoya in Asakusa! This is Ukon Takafuji, our sword dance instructor who is also a dance master. After changing into a hakama or kimono, we walked to yumenoya and learnt basic sword forms and movements. It’s really interesting to learn about the arts and we did a sword fight with our partners at the end. In addition, we also receive an official “Samurai Training” certificate from the school! The entire experience takes about 1 hour, so it’s easy to fit into your schedule.
Address: Venis 2F, Asakusa 1-36-8, Taito-ku, TOKYO (〒111-0032 東京都台東区浅草1-36-8 ヴェニス2F)
3. Hop on Rickshaw
If it is your first time to Asakusa, why no hop on the Ebisuya rickshaw to have a nostalgic ride while discovering Japanese culture? The rickshaw drivers speak good English and they are cheerful, friendly and certainly very macho! They will bring you around the lively and nostalgic downtown streets and you will also pass by the bright and colourful Senso-Ji Temple – Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. Website: http://ebisuya.com/en/
4. Queue for a century old soba shop
Namiki Yabusoba is a famous soba restaurant in Asakusa, Tokyo. Established since 1913, it is one of the biggest and oldest restaurant of Yabusoba with recipes passed down from generation. Their specialty is the thick dipping sauce with strong soy sauce flavour. The noodles are hand-made from 100% buckwheat flour that was milled in the same day and gives it a moderate bite.
Zarusoba is a cold soba served on a bamboo-draining basket with a cold dipping sauce. I had the “Tenn-Zaru-Soba”, which adds deep-fried food (Tempura) to the Zaru-soba noodle dish. After you finish eating your soba, add sobayu (hot water in which soba noodles have been boiled) to the remaining dipping sauce or broth and drink it.
5. Visit Sensoji Temple
Legend has it that fishermen brothers discovered an image of Kan’non (the goddess of mercy) in the Sumida-gawa River around the year 628 and were inspired to enshrine it. It is known as one of Tokyo’s oldest temples, having been founded in 628. A significant landmark outside the temple is Kaminari Gate, which has a huge red paper lantern that is built more than 1000 years ago.
6. Shop at Nakamise Shopping Street
The Nakamise shopping street at the main grounds of Sensoji Temple has more than 50 shops, which offer local specialties and the usual array of tourist souvenirs.
7. Eat Jumbo Melon Pan
We went to Kagetsudo Asakusa (花月堂) just to buy the famous Jumbo Melon Pan. Shaped like a melon, the crust is crispy with super soft interior. It kind of reminded me of Roti Boy, except that there’s not coffee. It’s 200 yen.
Other areas near Asakusa: Shinjuku
When I visited Japan about 10 years ago, I stayed in Shinjuku and that was the best choice because they have the best shops, restaurants, bars and tourist sights. We spent some time walking around the area and chilling out in jazzy coffee shops and shopping in department stores and quaint little shops. Unfortunately, my time in Shinjuku is a little short for this trip but I would love to come back again.
If there is one thing we recommend, that is to visit the depachika (department store food hall). We went to Isetan and fell in love with the the depachika because they have everything to keep your tummy full! Sample your way through cakes cookies, tea etc and you can literally get your lunch, brunch and dinner here. There are beautiful bento boxes and even wine for purchase. This is a true representation of Japan in terms of taste, presentation, and service.
Other areas near Asakusa: Ginza
Ginza is Tokyo’s most famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district, featuring numerous department stores, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, night clubs and cafes.
Kaitenzushi are less expensive sushi restaurants, where the sushi dishes are presented to the customers on a conveyor belt. For dinner, we went to Ginza Numazuko in Ginza, a sushi-bar in Ginza that serves fresh sushi on a conveyor belt. Yes, you can just pick the dishes from the belt or order dishes which are not available on the belt. The sushi is priced per plate with differently colored plates corresponding to different price tiers.
Address: Japan, 〒106-0061 Tokyo, Chuo, 銀座1丁目8番19号 キラリトギンザ8F
Phone: +81 3-6228-7171
Opening Hours: 11am–11pm
Where to Stay?
If you are planning a trip to Tokyo and looking for room stay, my recommendation is to book Ryumeikan Hotel Tokyo which is about 8 minutes walk from Tokyo station. The hotel is relatively new and the bed is very comfortable. What’s interesting is, when you press the “sleep” button, the lights will dim and soft music will play. Then the bed gives you a little leg massage and you will knock out almost immediately. Also, the breakfast is not extensive but very tasty selection of Japanese food. Website: http://ryumeikan-tokyo.jp/english/
Address: Japan, 〒103-0028 Tokyo, Chuo, 八重洲1-3-22
How to go to Asakusa?
From Tokyo Station: Take the JR Yamanote Line to Kanda Station and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa.
From Shinjuku Station: Take the orange JR Chuo Line to Kanda Station and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa.