Welcome to the wonderful world of the Asakusa area. This is a brilliant part of the Japanese capital city. There is a rich history and cultural heritage in this place and will certainly leave you wanting more. We are going to look at the history and all the wonderful things you can do here in this part of Tokyo. We’re going to check out some of the most amazing sites to see and events to witness along with some of Tokyo’s best food. So sit back and relax and prepare to plan your next trip to Japan to visit Asakusa.
Asakusa is located in the magnificent capital city of Japan, Tokyo. It is situated to the north east of the central city. And, is a part of the Tokyo ward of Taito. It sits at a low elevation on the banks of the beautiful river of Sumida. This ancient part of Tokyo has what one would call a more traditional feel than the more modernized areas of the city. The climate, of course, doesn’t change much from the rest of the greater Tokyo are. As such you can experience the city in very distinguished seasons depending on the time of your visit. In the summer you will get the heat and in the winter you’ll get the cold. It all depends on your preference. The beauty of this old part of the city is that in Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter there is picturesque views to take advantage of.
The rapid expansion and development of Asakusa came about during the Edo period. Sadly during the second world war the former ward of Asakusa suffere very heavily from bombing. The United States of America particularly bombarded the are when on a mission in nineteen forty five to actively fire upon Tokyo city.
It now showcases some of the traditions from its peak in the Edo period from the food and Geishas. It also celebrates the old twentieth century entertainment district. Showcasing this traditional aspect of older Tokyo makes for a huge popular tourist spot which we will talk about next.
Now in the modern era the main thing about Asakusa is tourism. People from all over the world want to see and experience some of the ancient things Japan is known for. The first thing to check out after entering would be the two main streets that are filled with places to eat, drink and relax. There are also many souvineir stores along the passages.
As you get further down the streets you will notice a temple. This temple is the Senso-ji temple. The Senso-ji temple is one of the most famous in the whole of Tokyo. This place is definitely worth a visit. Whilst entering the temple you may want to collect your fortune for one hundred Japanese Yen. You can also breath in the insence at the larger bowl. Breathing in this insence is said to cure your body of many ailments you may have. If you have never prayed in a temple before you can always wait in line to go inside and pray. It is well worth the experience.
If Japanese cinema is your thing then you may want to visit some of the sites of the old entertainment district.
Next up you may want to travel to Asakusa in May for the festival known as Sanja Matsuri. Sanja Matsuri is a festival so large that over one and a half million people visit over the festivals three days. The festival is a Shinto festival that literally means Three Shrines. Portable shrines are carried throughout the streets whilst chants are heard. It is one of the main three shinto festivals that is held in Tokyo.
Due to Tokyo’s small Brazillian community there is also a Carnival type festival. There you can witness the taste of Brazil right in the middle of Japan.
Food and Drink
The food and drink in this area of Tokyo is second to none. Asakusa is of course famed for its traditions. You can get grilled fish cakes (kamaboko). There is, also, a traditional sweet potato dish known as satsuma imo. And also a famous bread named melon bread. This bread is not made from any ingredients relating to melons it simply is called that because of the way it looks.
One of the coolest aspects of Asakusa is the underground area. This area showcases what it would have been like in older times. They have lots of small little stores where you can buy unique food and drink. You can get craft ales and even try out some Sake (rice wine).
There is also a community of still traditional and working Geisha. It is the oldest Geisha district in Tokyo. The booming industry in the Edo period brought about excess money and with it the Geishas. A traditional Japanese Geisha is a hostess. They traditionally serve tea, perform dances, provide wity conversation, play traditional music and other traditional art forms. The working Geisha’s of today are kept in business because of tourism as opposed to traditionality. Though in some cases they still work traditionally.
If you watch a lot of Japanese film and TV you may already have an idea of this area as it is featured a lot. One of the most famous around the world is an episode of the TV series made by Netflix called Tokyo Stories: Midnight Diner. This episode is about a comedian from the area.
There is a world famous book written in the year nineteen thirty by Kawabata Yasunari. The book titled The Scarlett Gang of Asakusa is a must read. One, because it is brilliantly written. And two, because it will get you excited and whet your appetite before your trip to this brilliantly cultural and exciting place.
So, there you have it, the brilliant gem in the middle of Tokyo. Asakusa is perfect for anyone who has never been to Japan before as you can experience all the thrills of traditional Japan and its food and culture all with out leaving the metropolis of Tokyo. This allows people to experience Japan in all its glory. No matter the reason for your travels you will find something you like here. If you like history you are covered. If you like food and drink you are covered. Or, if you are interested in Shinto Buddhism then you are in for a magnificent treat at festival time and visiting the temple.
Or, maybe you simply want a good trip. You will enjoy yourself in this place as do millions every year. Happy travelling.
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