Within the impressive capital of the country of the rising sun we find a unique corner where you can enjoy the most traditional Japan. The Asakusa neighborhood is a reference for lovers of cultural and historical tourism. For this reason, we advise you not to miss a detail of this article to learn about the history and places of interest of the most traditional neighborhood in Tokyo.
History of the Asakusa neighborhood
Hundreds of years old, Asakusa neighborhood is known as one of the most representative places of classical Japan in Tokyo. Especially during the Edo period (1603-1868), which coincides with the old name of the Japanese capital.
Asakusa was one of the main entertainment districts of the city, housing theaters, teahouses and other entertainment venues. Already during the 20th century, and after the time of industrial expansion or the Meiji Revolution, some modern cinemas were installed.
the neighborhood too suffered the ravages of World War II. In March 1945, it was severely damaged by bombing that not only wiped out part of its entertainment venues, but also resulted in the destruction of some of its temples. For this reason, it was finally decided to transfer the leisure area to other districts such as Shinjuku.
Nevertheless, continues to be one of the neighborhoods of geisha oldest in Tokyo. In it it is still possible to find some Maiko Y geisha strolling through it, dressed in their respective kimonos and umbrellas. In addition, dance and music shows are also performed in some traditional venues in the neighborhood.
The Asakusa neighborhood is located in the northeast area of Tokyo, very close to downtown and the Ginza Line. The neighborhood area is also colloquially known as Shitamachi, which literally means ‘lower town’. It is named for the low elevation of this ancient part of the city, located on the banks of the Sumida River.
A walk around Asakusa
Undoubtedly, our first stop will be the Sensoji temple, the most visited tourist spot in Asakusa. Here we can photograph ourselves next to the famous Kaminarimon gate, or Thunder Gate. Crossing it we will arrive at Nakamise street, a small village built around the temple.
This street is 250 meters long. In it we can find more than 50 shops where you can buy from traditional sweets to kimonos and other handicrafts. Also, as we walk through we can cross the Hozomon gate and admire the Skytree towerwhich creates a strong contrast in the landscape.
Other famous shopping streets in the area are Shin-Nakamise, full of shops and restaurantsor the famous Asakusa Chikagai underground passage, one of the oldest underground streets in the country, which still maintains the charm of the Showa period.
Continuing with our tour we will arrive at Asakusa Shrine, which withstood bombing during World War II, of great historical importance. Nearby we can visit, if we manage to find it open, the Chingodo room. Its interior keeps the representation of a tanukian animal that the Japanese associate with protection.
We will also find the Hanayashiki amusement park, whose origin dates back more than 150 years ago. And we should not miss the opportunity to enjoy one of the many cruises to the Hama-Rikyu gardens, visit the artificial island of Odaiba or stroll along the Sumida River.
Tips to make the most of your visit
In addition to visiting its streets, We recommend checking out the many activities offered in the neighborhood to live a purely Japanese experience. We can walk in kimono, travel in rickshaw and even learn some techniques of Japanese engraving, characteristic of the art ukiyo-e.
Also We advise you to visit the Jakotsuyu public baths and enjoy the many izakayas that we can find These are a type of classic Japanese restaurant where we can try dishes such as Daikokuya tempura and unagi from Irogawa. Similarly, it is very important to buy some traditional sweets, such as anmitsu or the dorayaki.
Fortunately, Asakusa has several types of accommodation for all types of pockets. There are from luxury hotels like The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Hulic, which offers a terrace with views of the neighborhood, to hostels with a traditional touch like the Tokyo Hikari Guesthouse.