Asakusa is one of the neighborhoods of Tokyo that’s in virtually every book about the capital city.

And why wouldn’t it be? With the impressive Sensōji Temple, obscure sculptures, and attractive Japanese men and women pulling expensive rickshaws, Asakusa has a little bit of something for everyone. Here are our top 11 things to do in Asakusa to make the most of your time there.

Asakusa video guide

Pro tip: Book this half-day walking tour and explore Asakusa under the expertise of a local guide. Bonus: Snacks are included!

Suggested Activity
Asakusa to Akihabara Tradition and Modernity Private Tour
Embark on a captivating walking tour of East Tokyo, where tradition and modernity intertwine seamlessly - from Senso-ji Temple and Nakamise-dori shopping street to Ameya-Yokocho market and Akihabara. ...

1. Ride a rickshaw

You can book a ride on a rickshaw online

kimono-and-rickshaw-in-front-of-sensoji-temple
Why not rent a kimono and get your guide to snap your photo like we did? | Photo by Alex Ziminski

See the top scenes of Asakusa while whizzing by on a rickshaw pulled by friendly local men and women with thighs of steel. This option will not only save your tired legs, but also give you an insight into the area on a 30-, 60-, or 120-minute tour. Prices start at ¥6,000 — worth it for a unique experience that shows a different side of Tokyo.

2. Rent a Kimono

Beat the crowds and book your kimono rental in Asakusa online in advance

Kimono wearing at Sensoji, Asakusa
Photo by iStock.com/iam555man

A common sight you’ll see around Asakusa are either couples or groups of friends donned in kimono or yukata depending on the season. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about Japanese culture and the best part is that it isn’t too expensive to rent. While there are places dotted all across the city that offer kimono rentals, Asakusa has got to be one of the most picturesque places to try it out.

3. Explore Nakamise-dōri

Nakamise Street, Asakusa
Nakamise | Photo by iStock.com/fotoVoyager

Nakamise-dōri is the 250-meter-long shopping street between the Kaminarimon and Hozomon gates of Sensōji Temple. Follow the signs to the temple and you won’t have any trouble spotting it. The narrow street is lined with close to 100 shops that sell everything from snacks to souvenirs and seriously fancy chopsticks. It can be crowded but is a great place to do some browsing and get gift ideas.

Many other old-style shopping streets in Asakusa are a little quieter (and more local) than Nakamise Shopping Street. Our recommendations are Denbōin-dōri and Kappabashi Street, for those who love kitchenware.

Pro tip: Book a local guide to show you the best spots in Asakusa: try this 2-hour food crawl with Viator (from ¥11,500) or 1-hour tour from By Food (¥9,890).

4. Take a peek from the top

senso-ji temple and nakamise street
The view of Nakamise-dōri and Sensōji Temple from Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center. | Photo by Alex Ziminski

Why pay money to go to the top of Tokyo Tower or Tokyo Sky Tree when you can see it all for free from the 8th floor of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center? The building is designed by famous architect Kengo Kuma and has a free veranda offering awesome views of Sensōji Temple, Nakamise-dōri, Tokyo Sky Tree, and the Tokyo skyline (though the Golden Poo has now been blocked by a block of offices).

If you’d like to go somewhere with a bit more space (and the opportunity to bring your own snacks), then try out Asakusa Hare Terrace on the rooftop of the Ekimise and (Matsuya) Department Store.

5. Sample traditional Japanese snacks like Ningyōyaki

Taiyaki, a sweet fish-shaped snack | Photo by iStock.com/blowbackphoto

Ningyōyaki, or Japanese snack cakes, are tasty local treats. They are made by pouring batter into intricate molds (ranging from fish and lantern-shaped to more themed Hello Kitty molds). In the center is usually a nice dollop of sweet red bean paste. It’s fun just to watch but it’s even better to try it yourself.

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Narita to Tokyo - Skyliner Discount Ticket
This is the fastest (and most convenient) airport express train from Tokyo Narita Airport to the city. Book your tickets online here and get a handy discount.

There are plenty of snacks to satiate your sweet tooth in Asakusa — like delicious melon pan. Find out more about them in our Asakusa sweets guide!

6. Get your fortune told

Good or bad? | Photo by Getty Images

Try your luck with an O-mikuji. Simply put, O-mikuji are strips of paper that supposedly tell your future. After you “donate” 100 yen into the box near the O-mikuji station at Sensōji Temple, you can draw a stick that corresponds to your fortune slip. If you get a good fortune, keep it. If you get a bad fortune, you can tie it on a nearby pole, tree, or rack to make sure it doesn’t follow you back home.

7. Say a little prayer at Sensōji Temple

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

During the busy seasons at Sensōji Temple (basically any time in the late afternoons, weekends, or national holidays), it’s fun to be jostled to the front of throngs of people to toss a 5-yen coin into the collection box. Afterwards, you bow and pray. As far as cultural events go, they don’t get any simpler than this. If you’re worried about the order of which to do first, just watch what the people ahead in line do.

8. Café hop around Asakusa

Sukemasa Coffee | Photo by Heidi Sarol

There’s more to Asakusa than the temples and shopping street. We recommend you explore not just the historical landmarks but also the hole-in-the-wall cafés that line the backstreets of this colorful district. From traditional themed kissaten to award-winning latte art baristas, there’s a café for every coffee lover waiting just around the corner. If you’re feeling up to it, take a stroll past the busy area of Asakusa and head down to Kuramae for a more local feel. Have a look at our dedicated Asakusa café hopping guide for more information.

9. Giggle at the golden turd

Asakusa with skytree and Asahi building
Photo by Adriana Paradiso

You can’t leave Asakusa without a glance (and a photo) at the landmark “golden turd”, officially known as the flame atop the headquarters of Asahi (yep, the beer people). The unofficial word on the street is they had one too many of their own brew before coming up with the sculpture. You’ll notice that the building next door resembles a beer mug. Also golden.

10. Check out the festivals

Photo by Grigoris Miliaresis

There are traditional festivals throughout the year in Asakusa — including the large-scale Sumida River Fireworks. But in May, you can attend one of the city’s three major Shinto festivals, which is truly a sight to behold. The Sanja Matsuri is a wild celebration that involves tattooed men jousting with portable shrines in the streets of Asakusa. Oh, and two million spectators. You’ve got to see it to believe it. Plan ahead to make the most out of your festival-going experience.

11. Hop on over to Hoppy Street

The Sanja Matsuri in May is one of the biggest events in Tokyo. | Photo by Alex Ziminski

Hoppy Street is filled from noon to night with folks chowing down on bowls of stew and downing bottles of Hoppy, the nostalgic, post-war drink. Whoever said Asakusa is dead at night hasn’t been here. If the weather isn’t suited for open-air izakaya, try visiting Asakusa Yokocho on the same street. While not harboring the same atmosphere, its neon lights and pop art are great for photos (go just for the toilets).

Other great drink haunts include NinjaBar in Asakusa Underground Street (also worth seeing at night); and Hub Asakusa, which often has jazz shows throughout the month.

If you want to squeeze some other areas into your trip to Asakusa, consider joining this combined Asakusa and Tsukiji Fish Market tour. And if you’re looking for places to stay, this guide to Asakusa accommodation is a good place to start.

This post was first published in March 2018 by Grace Buchele Mineta. Last updated in January 2024.

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