Asakusa Guide

Asakusa Guide

Pic: Agustin Rafael Reyes used under CC
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Asakusa is Tokyo’s shitamachi—the traditional, low-rise, down and dirty part of the city. Although on the surface it’s still ye olde Japan, this was the first part of the capital to have significant Western influence. It was even the site of Japan’s first cinema. Asakusa is a great place to stay if you’re on a budget—it’s a little far away from the central Tokyo attractions, but it provides a relaxing, quiet oasis at the end of the day.

Where to Eat and Drink

Asakusa is famous for its soba noodles—which means that at any given time, half of the country will be lined up to try a bowl. Our suggestion is to stroll around and scope out the least crowded place, but if you get stuck, you can always get your soba fix here. An alternative idea is to try Ramen Maru at Hisago Dori, Zenpin 300 yen-ya (where all the plates are 300 yen) on Sushiya Dori, or the Delia Pakupaku bento shop in Rokku Hanamichi, right by exit A1 of the station. If you’ve got a sweet tooth—or even if you haven’t, you need to grab a melon pan or one of these other Asakusa sweets too.

What to Do

Asakusa is a hub of traditional Japanese cultural festivities. Whether it’s experiencing bartering for lucky rakes during the Tori-no-ichi, seeing the portable shrines of the Sanja Matsuri shaken through the backstreets and alleyways, or experiencing the golden dragon dance at Sensoji temple, Asakusa consistently offers glimpses into its storied Edo past. Sensoji is one of Tokyo’s most historical temples and is an absolute must-see. Look out for the impressive Kaminari Gate that marks the entrance-way to the temple, and weave your way down the stall-lined shopping street (a great place to get rice crackers and all sorts of souvenirs) to the main building.

Keep an eye peeled for Phillip Stark’s ‘Golden Poo’ on the roof of the nearby Asahi Breweries headquarters. If you feel like getting a closer look, hop on a river cruise (technically a water bus). You can get to the Hama Rikyu gardens and Odaiba this way, and a number of other destinations too.

On the other side of the river, away from the vibey streets of Asakusa proper, you’ll find Tokyo Skytree—the expensive tourist trap we suggest you avoid. Instead, have a look at the Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum and then explore some of Asakusa’s food culture.

Where to Stay

Asakusa has a large number of guest houses catering for tourists, including the popular (and pretty damn reasonable) Khaosan World Asakusa Hostel and Nui Hostel. You can find more information about these establishments, and many more besides, in our handy Asakusa accommodation guide.

For more info on Asakusa and ideas on what to do there, have a look at this uncovered guide and this list of free activities.


List of places in Asakusa

Articles about Asakusa

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Events in Asakusa

Eating & Drinking in Asakusa

Entertainment in Asakusa

Shopping in Asakusa

Living in Asakusa

Getting Around in Asakusa

Itineraries in Asakusa

Recommended Hotels near Asakusa

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