Asakusa exudes a rustic old charm that plays a good contrast to the skyscrapers, bustling streets and neon lights in metropolitan Tokyo.
Asakusa can be easily explored by foot. But there are rickshaw tours around the area where you can sit and relax while being guided for 30 minutes.
It used to be Tokyo's leading entertainment district. Asakusa was the site of kabuki theaters and a large red light district. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, modern types of entertainment, including movie theaters, set foot in Asakusa.
Here are some places to visit in Asakusa:
1. Kaminarimon Gate
Kaminari or Kaminarimon gate was built from 1000 years ago and is the symbol of Asakusa. This gate will lead you to Nakamise Shopping Street and to the temple grounds.
2. Nakamise Shopping Street
The Nakamise Shopping Street is famous for its local specialties and an array of souvenirs for tourists. This street can be found upon entering Kaminarimon gate.
I recommend to try some wagashi or traditional Japanese sweets used to serve with tea during tea ceremony.
There are also shops that can be found in every street (from right to left) once you're in Nakamise. If you're interested of buying a Japanese sword or a kitchen knife - there are lots of selection in this area.
If you have a sweet tooth like me, visit Liszt shop in Asakusa. They offer candied orange peel covered in dark chocolate which I really love.
3. Sensoji Temple
Sensoji is Tokyo's most famous and popular temple and is the main attraction of Asakusa. It is also known as one of the oldest temple in Japan.
4. Kappabashi Shopping Street
This place is known for catering restaurant businesses where you can buy utensils, furniture, signs and uniforms.
This is also the place where you can buy "sample food" made out of plastic. These are usually displayed at most restaurant windows.
To know more about Kappabashi, visit this site for details.
5. Sumida River Cruise
Interested in river cruise? The Tokyo Water Bus operates sightseeing ships from Asakusa Pier from 30 to 60 minutes via Hama Rikyu Gardens to Hinode Pier.
You can also have a chance to view the famous Asahi Beer Tower and the Tokyo Skytree while at the cruise.
6. Sumida Park
This riverside park stretches along both sides of Sumida River and is popular cherry blossom viewing spot during Spring.
I know there are still lots of places to visit in Asakusa which I might need to explore the next time I travel back to Japan.
If you have recommendations, let me know so I can visit it the next time. I definitely recommend Asakusa to first time travellers in Tokyo.
I also recommend to visit Tokyo Skytree if you're already in Asakusa since the place is just near the area.
How to get there:
1. From Tokyo Station:
Take the JR Yamanote Line to Kanda Station (2 minutes, 140 yen) and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa (10 minutes, 170 yen).
2. From Shinjuku Station:
Take the orange JR Chuo Line to Kanda Station (10 minutes, 170 yen) and transfer to the Ginza Subway Line for Asakusa (10 minutes, 170 yen).