A Morning in Asakusa, Tokyo

Sweet friends, hello! Happy Thursday! How are you keeping? I don’t often stop by on a weekday, but I’m here to belatedly deliver a post I promised for last week: A Morning in Asakusa, Tokyo. I had the very best of intentions to share it before we jetted off last Thursday, but one thing led to another and I just didn’t get around to it… Better late than never, right? Right! In case you missed it, this is my second Tokyo city guide. My first one – Four Days in Shinjuku! – hit the blog at the start of the month, and I’m hopeful to share my final one, covering all things Shibuya, soooon! Now, let’s talk Asakusa, shall we?

Asakusa is the traditional district in Tokyo. When I was researching the district before our visit, all the guides said the same thing: travel to Asakusa for a glimpse into the Tokyo of the past. And honestly, it felt so true! Yes, it’s busy and just as hectic as the other more central districts, but the vibe couldn’t be more different! No flashing adverts talking to you from a billboard on high, no crazy modern electronic displays – or at least, we didn’t see anything like that. What we did see a whole gosh-darn-lot of(!) were tourists dressed in traditional Japanese kimono. Men, women, children – almost every second person we passed was dressed for the occasion of wandering through the traditional heart of Tokyo in the proper attire. It wasn’t really our scene, but whatever floats your boat?

Below is my short but sweet guide to the city. We were only on the Asakusa side of town for a couple hours, but you better believe we a. sniffed out the best pancake house on offer, and b. hit up the most important tourist attraction! Enjoy, friends!

We made our way to Asakusa from Shinjuku early one morning, jet-lagged and bleary eyed. That same morning, while enjoying pastries in the hotel lobby, we overheard a family nearby bemoaning the fact that there was no direct subway from our area of Shinjuku to Asakusa. Now, I don’t need to tell you something that should be evident: we were in no mood for train hopping or anything of the sort. All we could handle was: get on train, sit, get off train. Thankfully, after a little study of the subway map, I found a direct route. Here’s how we made the journey:

• from our hotel, THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku, we walked 6-minutes to Tochomae Station. It was an easy peasy stroll across the block.

• from Tochomae Station, we bought two tickets bound for Kuramae Station on the Ōedo Line. The journey cost us ¥280 each, and lasted 11-stops and 23ish minutes.

• and boom, you’re in Asakusa, baby! If you’re heading to Sensō-ji Temple, it’s a straight 14-minute walk direct from Kuramae Station. Side note: there are other stations in Asakusa that leave you off closer to Sensō-ji, but I repeat, we weren’t in the mood to switch lines etc.

Benizuru // a fantastic Japanese pancake house! Neither of us had ever tried Japanese pancakes before, and both of us were entirely unprepared for a. their absolute fluffiness and b. the sheer size of them! We rocked up without a reservation and were told that if we didn’t mind sharing one portion then we could wait to be seated presently, but if we wanted a portion each then we’d need to come back in a few hours. Seeing as this was our second breakfast, we opted to share – and thank goodness; they’re ginormous! We went for the, some might say, boring option, of honey and butter, but oof, it was so good! They came in a generous stack of three, and both of us were stuffed afterwards! Moreish, fluffy and delightful! Would recommend. Address: 2 Chome-1-11 Nishiasakusa, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0035

Senso-ji Temple // the oldest established temple in Tokyo! This ancient temple is the shining star of Asakusa, and as such it’s super busy! On the day we visited, it felt like everyone in Tokyo was there, so be prepared to face the crowds! We knuckled in with the best of them and gave the main rituals a go: purifying our bodies & souls with the cleansing smoke, ringing the bell & praying to the gods, and even picking up a fortune-telling paper, an omikuji, each! In for a penny in for a pound, ey?! In case you’re wondering: I pulled a lucky fortune, while Husband pulled an unlucky one. However! Japanese tradition says if you tie your bad fortune to a pine tree – or another designated spot! – it will wait there instead of following you home. Here’s hoping! A must visit. Address: 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0032

Nakamise-dori Street // one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan! The street, which dates back to the 17th century(!), runs for 250-metres between the entrance gate, the Kaminarimon Gate, all the way up to the temple. There are stalls for almost everything: traditional Japanese crafts, cuisine, clothing, culinary delights etc. They even sell things that don’t fit into my cutesy alliteration mindset! Address: 1 Chome-36-3 Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0032

BANDAI CO., LTD. Head Office // an accidental find, but actually a pretty cool one! We walked past this en route to the subway station and Husband’s inner child convinced us to venture inside. It’s actually the head office of Bandai – one of the most influential toy manufacturers in the world(!) – but there’s also a small museum on the top floor that showcases some of Bandai’s creations through the years. The Tamagotchi display caught my interest, while Husband was more interested in the Transformers. While this isn’t necessarily a stop I would go out of my way for, it was fun for a quick 10-minute perusal. Address: 111-0043 Tokyo, Taito City, Komagata, 1 Chome−4−8 バンダイ本社ビル

Spot the golden poo of Asahi Beer Hall! // okay, this isn’t technically a thing to do – but it sure did make us chuckle! The sculpture, which is actually named ‘the Asahi Flame’, was designed in 1989 to stand upright and, I imagine, look more gracious than it does nowadays. However, the stability of the piece was called into question, and it was decided that the sculpture would instead lie on its side. I’m sure Asahi are kicking themselves for ending up with a giant poo instead of a flame, but it probably draws more onlookers this way?! Don’t you just love a funny back story? Also! I just read online, the Asahi main tower, left of the golden poo as seen above, is built to resemble a giant beer mug with foamy top! Fun! Would recommend. Address: 1 Chome-23-1 Azumabashi, Sumida City, Tokyo 130-0001

And there we have it: A Morning in Asakusa, Tokyo! Told you it was short and sweet; I hope you loved it!

Shibuya guide coming asap rocky, pinky promise 🙂

Four Days in Shinjuku, Tokyo
Two Weeks in Japan | Our Honeymoon Itinerary
Japan Travel Tips | Notes From Our Honeymoon

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