Asakusa is a neighbourhood within the north east of Tokyo metropolis adjoining to the Sumida River. It’s identified to guests for the historic Senso-ji temple and spectacular views from the Tokyo Skytree however lets take a deeper have a look at issues to do in Asakusa.
We’ve been travelling repeatedly to Japan for fairly a couple of years now and thought it may be helpful to check out a number of the completely different elements of Tokyo, what the points of interest are in every, the foodie highlights and why you would possibly selected to base within the space throughout your keep within the metropolis.
The factor to remember when understanding the place to remain in Tokyo is deciding what central means for you and your functions. Technically the centre of Tokyo is the Imperial Palace, the positioning of the previous Edo fort which is an space referred to as Chiyoda. You’ll discover it’s handy to Tokyo station, Ginza, Akasaka and the enterprise and industrial district. I’ve seen many individuals say ‘we stayed centrally in Shinjuku’ for instance. Shinjuku is 6 km from town centre, Asakusa is Four km however what issues most for guests is whether or not it has good entry (trains and subways) and whether or not it’s close to points of interest that curiosity you and whether or not there are good locations to eat close by on the finish of the day. It’s virtually sure you’ll be transferring across the sprawling metropolis utilizing some type of transport, Tokyo shouldn’t be a metropolis many have time to discover purely on foot with out lacking out on a lot of it’s drama and variety.
Asakusa is within the north east of Tokyo metropolis, round 2.5 km east of Ueno and three.5 km from Tokyo Station. It’s a space the place Tokyo’s historical past survives and also you’ll really feel this in a few of it’s points of interest, its many conventional eating places and that there are extra low rise buildings than skyscrappers round right here.
Asakusa’s hottest attraction for vacationers is Senso-ji temple which dates again to the seventh century and the world round it has been standard for the reason that Edo interval when it was often called an leisure district. A number of geisha and tea homes stay in Asakusa however they aren’t as seen to foreigners because the ones in Kyoto.
I discover one of the simplest ways to take pleasure in this a part of Asakusa is ranging from the outer gate referred to as Kaminarimon which is actually near the Asakusa station exit. You will get right here from different elements of town utilizing the Asakusa or Ginza subway traces and use exits A3~A5.
The Kaminarimon gate was initially constructed right here over 1000 years in the past and the present one dates from 1960. It options an unlimited paper lantern and there are guardian figures on both facet. Dealing with us listed below are the Shinto gods of wind and thunder. On the alternative facet going through the purchasing avenue are the Buddhist deities, kinryu (golden dragon) and tenryu (heavenly dragon) of their human type.
By the Kaminarimon gate you enter an avenue that results in the second gate, Senso-ji temple and Asakusa shrine. This walkway is the Nakamise Procuring avenue and though it’s solely round 300 metres between the 2 gates there’s quite a bit to see so enable a little bit of time to discover this quick distance.
Within the day it’s typically fairly crowded via right here so if you wish to expertise it with out that depth an early morning or a night go to may be an choice for you. In fact if you’re staying within the space then that may be a little simpler to do however the subways run late into the night time and are very protected so a late afternoon and dinner go to is usually a sensible choice too.
One cause I like to stroll via Asukusa at any time of day is the meals. There are numerous small and fabulous eating places however the space can be particular for its avenue meals and snacks all through the Nakamise space which incorporates 2 different streets that intersect with it, Donboin Dori and Shin-Nakamise Dori. You don’t see loads of avenue meals in Japan in comparison with different elements of Asia, most likely as a result of consuming as you stroll round is mostly thought-about impolite however there are many locations to discover a quiet nook and if you happen to go to the best as you enter via the primary gate to Senso-ji temple there’s a big seating space and it’s OK to eat and drink there.
The Japanese phrase for avenue meals is tabearuki it’s actually a contraction of the phrases for eat and stroll, I did discover it stunning that there’s a phrase for it when strolling as you eat shouldn’t be one thing you actually see a Japanese particular person doing, even at festivals or purchasing streets like this it’s unusual.
Deciding what to attempt is the primary problem right here. Taiyaki is one I can’t go previous, it interprets as grilled snapper, a sort of fish but it surely’s really a candy deal with often made within the form of a fish utilizing molds much like the ningyo yaki ones you see within the photograph above and cooked over a sizzling grill. A batter is poured in and topped along with your selection of filling, sweetened crimson bean is probably the most acquainted however custard, matcha and sakura are additionally standard. Taiyaki are finest eaten heat from the grill. Different choices embrace nikuman that are meat buns, exhausting sweet, candy and savory rice crackers, ice cream and ice cream stuffed biscuits and the ningyo yaki I discussed above that are a cake stuffed with crimson bean which can be usually boxed and bought as a memento present.
Subsequent you got here to the Hozomon gate on the entrance to the Senso-ji temple courtyard. This gate is even bigger and extra dramatic than the primary one. You’ll be able to see above the way it dwarfs the group as they stroll beneath it.
Senso-ji temple is a considerable advanced. It dates again to 645 making it Tokyo’s oldest temple. It’s additionally very stunning. All of which make it extraordinarily standard and in a metropolis the scale of Tokyo it turns into very crowded at instances. Most of this crowd is concentrated across the gate and within the courtyard on the entrance, contained in the temple buildings and all through the remainder of the temple grounds it’s not so busy.
We extremely suggest having a full go searching inside, whereas lots of the constructions have been rebuilt within the publish battle period there are various statues and constructions to see, a koi pond beneath the concrete bridge, a dramatic pagoda and a ‘secret backyard’ tucked away behind it that’s a should see if you happen to go to between March and early Could when it’s open to the general public.
Asakusa Shrine may be simply missed on a go to to Sensoji but it surely’s adjoining to the temple and price together with in your go to. For those who exit the Hondo corridor of the temple to the left you’ll make you approach into the temple but when as a substitute you’re taking the much less intuitive exit to the left or head that approach later you’ll discover the shrine.
Asakusa shrine honours the brothers who found the principal idol of Senso-ji temple again in 645 whereas fishing. Legend says that whereas their fishing that day within the Sumida River was unsuccessful they discovered a statue of their internet. Regardless of throwing it again and transferring location a number of instances they continued to have solely the idol of their internet every time they pulled it up. Later the idol was recognised because the Bodhisattva Kannon (Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit) and the invention led to the temple being based right here at Senso-ji.
The Sumida Park is a riverside park on each banks of the Sumida River. It’s hottest in the course of the cherry blossom season and is very stunning and crowded when in full bloom with cherry blossom. At different instances of 12 months it’s much less busy however nonetheless a pleasant pure break as you stroll between Sensoji temple and the Skytree or arrive at on the river journey. On the Skytree facet the park is bigger and features a pond.
Tokyo Skytree is the latest and tallest of the towers to get a view out over town and past. On a transparent day you’ll see so far as Mt Fuji in Kanagawa Prefecture. There are two viewing flooring, one at 350 metres and one other at 450 metres every offering expansive views in all instructions. Be careful on the decrease degree for the glass flooring, do you dare stroll on it and look down between your ft to the world beneath? I don’t have a concern of heights in any respect but it surely’ll nonetheless fairly an odd feeling.
From Sumida Park on the Sensjo-ji facet of the river it’s a few 15 minute stroll to cross the Sumida River and stroll alongside to Tokyo Skytree. For those who favor you’ll be able to take the Ginza line on the subway one cease from Asakusa station.
Tokyo Solamachi is the purchasing centre adjoining to the Tokyo Skytree, there’s a subway and railway station beneath for handy entry. The purchasing centre is large with over 300 shops. Just about something you may be in search of may be discovered right here however a few sections that stood out to me have been:
Seeing a metropolis from the water is one other high advice if you wish to actually get a really feel for the place. In Tokyo that’s the Sumida River with Suijobus cruises. We did the boat ride in the course of the sakura blossom one 12 months and it’s was an effective way to get a special view of the height blossom season with out the crowds.
The cruise runs between Asakusa and Hamarikyu gardens close to the unique Tsukiji markets and we discovered it a great way to tie collectively exploring the markets, a recent sushi breakfast after which proceed our exploration of Tokyo from Asakusa after the boat trip.
There’s quite a lot of boats of their fleet and a few of them are fairly distinctive. I’d have needed to take this journey even simply so as to add this space-age wanting boat to the gathering of distinctive transport we’ve utilized in Japan however the brand new perspective on town from the river was effectively value it.
You could already know the Asahi model, it’s a preferred beer all around the globe and one of the crucial well-known from Japan. They make an enormous selection and their head workplace is conveniently situated in Asakusa if you happen to’re within the space and plan to go to.
The Asahi headquarters are made up of two buildings, one designed to seem like a beer glass with a frothy head of froth and the opposite has a particular golden flame on high.
Asahi began brewing on the positioning over 100 years in the past so it has a protracted connection to the model. Whereas no beer is brewed right here any longer, which suggests there’s no manufacturing facility tour you would possibly wish to cease by for the attention-grabbing structure or as an Asahi fan to style from a full vary of their beers.
If you wish to style the produce we’d suggest heading as much as the Sky Room on degree 22 of the taller constructing. Right here you’ll be able to attempt their icy chilly beers and different drinks whereas taking within the view from the remark flooring. There’s no entry payment as such for this one however you’re required to purchase a drink for every particular person and I’ve been informed that they may ask somebody to depart in the event that they don’t have a drink.
From Asakusa it’s a few 2 km (20 minute) stroll west to neighbouring Ueno which is usually a good vacation spot to find subsequent. To make this stroll extra attention-grabbing wander through the Kappabashi Kitchenware purchasing avenue. There are dozens of retailers down right here with a cooking and kitchenware focus. Though it focuses primarily on the restaurant commerce it’s attention-grabbing to browse and a chance to choose up a singular and helpful memento from the lacquer and ceramic ware, a Japanese kitchen knife or maybe some plastic meals?
We’ve talked about earlier than that our high tip for deciding the place to remain in Tokyo is handy entry to subway and JR stations.
When making you method to Asakusa station from different elements of Tokyo you need both the Asakusa or Ginza line. For us entry to the Ginza or Marunuchi line are probably the most helpful to have in Tokyo as a result of they entry the areas we go most regularly but it surely actually doesn’t matter an excessive amount of, there are many interchange stations the place you’ll be able to simply and shortly transfer from one line to a different. If all of it sounds a bit complicated try our information on the right way to master the Tokyo subway like a local.
Asakusa station is handy for accessing Senso-ji temple and the encircling points of interest, simply be careful whenever you arrive for exits A3~A5 and also you’ll come out very close to the primary temple gate and purchasing avenue.
For those who favor to start out on the opposite facet of the river with Tokyo Skytree or take the subway throughout from Asakusa reasonably than strolling the Skytree and Solamachi have their very own subway station beneath you can additionally entry on the Ginza line.
As we’ve seen there are some attention-grabbing points of interest to find by each day and night time within the Asakusa area and there’s additionally a wide selection of eating places throughout quite a lot of worth factors. Whereas it’s exterior the central metropolis area that means a bit extra commuting to get to a number of the extra standard locations in Tokyo it does have 2 helpful subway traces. The Ginza and Akasuka line give entry to all kinds of locations across the metropolis and connections to JR stations if you happen to’re headed additional afield. It’s additionally the Tokyo base for the personal Tobu Railways that service the northern suburbs and thru to Saitama, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures, you’d use this line for a day journey to Nikko for instance.
Being barely much less central you could possibly decide up good worth offers for a keep in Asakusa, as a sign it’s round 15-20 minutes to Tokyo Station or Ginza.
The Gate Resort
The Gate Resort Asakusa may be very conveniently situated inside the historic neighborhood of Asakusa. From the lodges it’s a 5 minute stroll to the subway station or the Karinarimon gate and there is a wonderful collection of eating places within the rapid space of the lodge. The Gate Resort is a boutique type lodge that opened round 6 years in the past. It’s trendy in design, clear and affords good sized rooms for Tokyo with free WIFI.
A great mid-range decide is the Richmond Resort Asakusa which coincidentally can be round 6 years previous and rated for it’s trendy design and cleanliness. It’s situated Three minutes stroll from Senso-ji temple, 10 minutes to Asakusa subway station and 30 minutes to the Tokyo Skytree. You’ll discover the rooms somewhat smaller however there’s free WIFI, a coin operated laundry onsite and a microwave for visitor use.
Tobu Resort Levant Tokyo
A barely completely different choice is the Tobu Resort Levant which is on the opposite facet of the river, technically in Kinshicho making it barely farther from the primary points of interest of Asakusa. It’s a 2 km stroll to Skytree and three km to Sensoji temple, or a few minutes by subway. Nonetheless so far as comfort goes this lodge has an entire lot going for it. It’s a cease for the lodge limousine bus going to each the Haneda and Narita airport or you may get a direct practice from both airport. I did it from Narita just lately and it’s really easy with no transfers. The lodge additionally affords a free shuttle to the Disney Parks making it very enticing to households.
The large bonus although is that it’s adjoining to Kinshicho station which is a JR and subway station making it tremendous straightforward to get round in Tokyo and additional afield. There’s good purchasing, comfort shops and an enormous variety of eating places in any respect worth factors and types close by.
For those who plan on taking up a strolling tour of Asakusa taking in a number of the points of interest we’ve talked about right here within the publish I’ve included a map beneath you can entry or save to assist plan your route.
Intersted in Asakusa? Save to Pinterest for simple reference later
When you’ve got any questions on Asakusa please ask within the feedback beneath, we do our greatest to reply all questions and feedback. When you’ve got something so as to add or solutions to incorporate that we would have missed we’d love to listen to your concepts too.
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