Home Places To Go in TokyoAsakusa Free or Low-Cost Activities in Asakusa

Free or Low-Cost Activities in Asakusa

by Laetitia Dodo

Asakusa is an ancient entertainment district in Taito. After World War II the area was rebuilt as it was. As a result, it is across modernity and tradition. Enjoy the charming out-of-time look of Asakusa!

Senso-ji Temple and Asakusa Shrine

There are dozens of shrines and temples in Tokyo, but not as popular as Senso-ji and Asakusa-Jinja. Besides, they are not dedicated to the same religion. These two religious places are standing by each other side. Don’t be surprised. Until the 19th century in Japan, Buddhism and Shinto formed a mix-religion. It was Shinbutsu-shūgō or “syncretism of kami and Buddhas”.

Senso-ji

Kaminari-Mon

First stop at Kaminari-Mon or Thunder gate. Its two guardians protect the temple from evil spirits.

Senso-Ji Temple

This temple was at first created in 645 in the name of the goddess Kannon. Which makes it the oldest temple in Tokyo ! It houses a Buddha statue in which is hidden a 2 inches Kannon statue.

Honzomon and Five Pagoda story

On your way to the temple, be sure to satisfy your architectural curiosity.

 Asakusa-Jinja

Asakusa Shrine

Enjoy the peace of this place after the hustle bustle of the Senso-ji temple.

Also called Sanja-Sama, this shrine is the instigator of the Sanja Matsuri. Each year during the third week-end of May, 2 million people come to Asakusa for the festival. It celebrates the three founders of Senso-ji. It is Tokyo’s most popular festival. The street is full of city officials, priests, geishas, traditional musicians and dancers. Portable shrines called mikoshi within kami (Shinto deities) parade all around the district. It brings good fortune to local businesses and residents.

Did you now ?  The main difference between a shrine and a temple is that the first is related to Shinto while the second is for Buddhism.

Asakusa Tourist Culture Information Center

 

This center is traveler’s best ally. They provide advice and support in 4 languages and free wifi. But more important: their building offers a fantastic view on Asakusa. Have a look at 7th floor free exhibition on Asakusa. They also broadcast a documentary about Asakusa’s festivals at the 6th floor.

There is always something to do in Asakusa: check out !

Sumida Park and River

Sumida Park

Willing to relax or to appreciate Japanese nature view ? Go to Sumida Park or look for a cruise on Sumida River.

Tokyo’s Hollywood, Star Plaza

Star Plaza

Famous Japanese actors, artists or singers have let their print at the foot of Asakuza City Hall. Fans come to see the signed life-sized handprints of their idol.

Denbouin Street or Denpoin Street

Denpoin Street

Rebuilt after World War II, the street has kept the Edo period’s atmosphere. It is the perfect area if you are looking for original shops or strolling in the afternoon.

Kannon-ura’s Hanamachi

This area is in the north of Senso-ji. Its name comes from the goddess Kannon whose temple is Senso-ji and ura means behind. Hanamachi or “flower’s town” is the Geisha girls town. Asakusa’s one is, with Kagurazaka, the most active hanamachi nowadays. This area is home of Japanese-style restaurants, tea houses, and geisha houses. Try your luck and see if you can spot geishas by strolling into Kannon-ura.
 
During spring and summer , you can see traditional geisha’s performance for free . Yet it requires a reservation (check Asakusa Geiko Odori “Free” on e-askusa.jp). Some establishments also propose to have dinner with geishas or private performance.

Shopping

Asakusa Underground Street

Asakusa Underground District

It’s been there since 1955, hidden from tourists’ view. This small underground street is home of several bars and izakayas. Just next to Asakusa station, it is a great place to have a drink at night with locals. It usually wakes up around 6pm.

Kappabashi Kitchen Town

Willing to start on a Japanese restaurant business ? Or wondering where you can find Japanese chef’s must-have ? The answer is go to Kappabashi Kitchen Town ! This place gathers everything Japanese restaurants need : from plastic food samples to waiters’ outfits.

Read more: Tokyo Knife Stores-The Best Blades in Japan

Nakamise Street

Between Kamori-Mon and Senso-ji temple, stretches Nakamise street and its small shops. It is the occasion to find some local souvenirs and food on your way to the temple.

Skytree Tower & Asahi Beer Hall

The Skytree Tower is one of the tallest towers in the world. You can visit it, but unlike Asakusa Tourist Culture Information Center it requires a ticket. Asahi’s (yes, from the beer) headquarter presents an appropriate shape: it is a nothing less but a beer glass. Right next to it, this building houses, restaurants and a mall. Can you identify what is on top of it?

Hoppy Street

Its name comes from the Hoppy drink (0.8% of alcohol) which was popular after the WWII. It counts various restaurants, bars and izakayas in which you can enjoy typical dishes such as soba (Japanese pasta), tempura (various fried food), chikuwa kamaboko (grilled fish cakes), melon pan (sweet snack bread) and sushis. Be aware that some restaurants might still have whale meat. Indeed it was popular in the past in Japan.

Rickshaws

You can find them all around Asakusa. They offer you to visit the district while relaxing as they transport you. They have good English speaking skills and know the area by heart.

You can also rent a bike and visit on your own.

 

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