Download GPX file for this article
35.71472139.79673Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Not to be confused with Akasaka, almost 7 km (4 miles) away in the central Minato ward.
Kaminarimon, Sensō-ji

Asakusa (浅草) is a part of Tokyo's downtown Taito district, best known for its many temples, particularly Sensō-ji, Tokyo's largest Buddhist temple.

Get in[edit]

Asakusa is the terminus of the Metro Ginza line (G19), which is the best way to get into the area, perhaps by connecting from the Yamanote line at Ueno. Other options are to take the eponymous Toei Asakusa line (A18), which carves a path through eastern and southern Tokyo, or by taking the Toei Oedo Line to the Kuramae Station (E11), or by using the Tobu Skytree Line. There are direct through train services from Haneda Airport to Asakusa subway station (1 hr, ¥610).

Asakusa is also the terminus of the Tobu Nikko line, offering direct access to the shrines and national parls of Nikko, 2 hours away.

The Airport Limousine bus service runs every day from Narita Airport to Asakusa for ¥3,100. It arrives at Asakusa View Hotel, right next to Asakusa Station.

Cruises down the Sumida River (Sumida-gawa) depart from a wharf only a 5-minute walk from the temple, by the Azuma-bashi bridge. There are a number of boat routes available, so have a look at the map and choose one. Options include services of Tokyo Cruise Ship and a number of the traditional Yakatabuke ships.



Sensō-ji pagoda and Hōzōmon gate

Sensō-ji (浅草寺), also known as Asakusa Kannon, is Tokyo's largest Buddhist temple and a major attraction for Japanese and foreigners alike. Destroyed in World War 2, the main buildings and gates were rebuilt between 1951 and 1973. Take the Asakusa exit of the subway and follow the crowds.

  • 1 Kaminarimon (雷門, Thunder Gate). Up first, it features a much-photographed giant lantern and statues of guardian gods Raijin (god of thunder) and Fūjin (god of wind). First built in 942, the gate has been destroyed numerous times and the current incarnation dates to 1960. The Nakamise shopping arcade leading up to the temple starts after the gate (see Buy). Kaminarimon on Wikipedia
  • 2 Hōzōmon (宝蔵門). At the end of the arcade, it is the main gate, notable for a giant straw sandal (waraji) hung up on one side. This gate too is guarded by ferocious guardian gods. Rebuilt 1964. Hōzōmon on Wikipedia
  • 3 Kannondō (観音堂, Kannon Hall). Behind the gate, the main hall of the temple is perennially busy with a steady stream of worshippers wafting incense over themselves and trooping up the steps to pray and donate. According to legend, the hall was first built in 628 to house a statue of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, fished out of the Sumida River by two brothers. Rebuilt 1951–58.
  • 4 Gojūnotō (五重塔, 5-Story Pagoda) (to the west). It reputedly contains some of the ashes of the Buddha. Rebuilt 1973.

Other temples and shrines[edit]

  • 5 Asakusa Jinja (浅草神社). To the east behind the temple is this Shinto shrine devoted to protecting the Buddhist temple in a typically Japanese arrangement. The fairly plain shrine is not much to look at, but is notable as the focal point of the Sanja Matsuri festival (see Do).
  • 6 Chingodō Shrine (鎮護堂). If you turn left before the Hōzōmon gate and head west for a few hundred meters, this quiet shrine is on your left. The shrine is dedicated to the Japanese raccoon god tanuki, notably primarily for its big flask of sake and gigantic testicles (at least when depicted as a statue).
  • 7 Dembō-in Temple (伝法院). This temple next to Sensō-ji, to which it belongs, has a spectacular Japanese garden. While generally closed to the public, it opens for exhibitions most years from roughly mid-March to early May. Other than the small garden, which is best in the cherry blossom (sakura) season, the exhibition also features some of the temple's cultural treasures. The entrance is close to the five-story pagoda (Gojūnotō) of the Sensō-ji temple (see above). ¥300.


  • Sanja Matsuri (三社祭). Organized at Asakusa Jinja yearly on the third weekend in May, this is Tokyo's largest festival (matsuri) and attracts up to 2 million spectators. The main event is a procession known as Daigyōretsu, when traditional performers and musicians parade through the streets, while on the next two days portable shrines (mikoshi) are carried to and from the temple for purification.
  • Asakusa Samba Carnival. Held on the last Saturday of August. The street parade, which features thousands of participants from all over Japan, is held in the afternoon around Sensō-ji, and there are some stage shows in the evening. The event started in 1981, it's the biggest party of the year for the many Japanese-Brazilian residents of Tokyo.
  • 1 Hanayashiki (花やしき). The oldest amusement park in Japan. Next to the Sensō-ji temple grounds is this small and somewhat lackluster carnival complex with rides, booths, and games. The neighborhood theatre specializes in showing classic Japanese films, as many of the tourists are elderly Japanese. Hanayashiki (Q863180) on Wikidata Hanayashiki on Wikipedia


Nakamise shopping arcade
  • 1 Nakamise (仲見世). This busy covered shopping arcade leads from the Kaminarimon gate to the temple, selling all sorts of Buddhist paraphernalia as well as assorted tourist kitsch. This is one of the best places in Tokyo to buy souvenirs (the other being the Oriental Bazaar in Omotesando), but more expensive items such as swords and kimono are likely to be of inferior quality. Slightly nicer crafts, rather than mass-produced kitsch, can be found at good prices if you walk up to the temple, turn right, and turn right again on the first small street running parallel to Nakamise. You will see plenty of small shops in this general area which have better quality souvenirs and gifts, like handkerchiefs, strings of hand-made silk balls, and hairclips.


Asakusa is famous for its senbei rice crackers, grilled on the spot, flavored with soy and usually wrapped in seaweed. There are many competing shops in the Nakamise arcade, and packages of senbei are a very popular souvenir among the Japanese as well. Kaminari okoshi, a sweet snack made of rice, peanuts, and syrup, originated from food stalls near Kaminarimon in the Edo period. Asakusa is also famous for its tempura, fried prawns and vegetables. You can find many tempura restaurants (high and low budget) in the streets near Nakamise-dori Street.


  • 1 Kagetsudo (花月堂), Asakusa 1-18-11, +81 3-5830-3534. Daily 09:00-17:00. This place has been making "melon pan" since 1945, and they haven't changed the decoration. It is a buttery and milky small cake with a crispy sweet crust. ¥200 for one, ¥500 for three.
  • Nishiyama Sweets (甘味処 西山), Kaminarimon 2-19-10 (just off the main intersection, towards Kaminarimon), +81 3 5830-3145. Th-Tu. After an exhausting day visiting the temples, grab some hot steamed dumplings outside, or step inside for traditional desserts such as oshiruko (grilled rice cake in a sweet-bean porridge) or cream an-mitsu (gelatin cubes in molasses with candied fruit and ice cream). This very simple shop serving tea and sweets has been in business since 1852.
  • Sansada (三定), Asakusa 1-2-2 (just right of Kaminarimon), +81 3 3841-3400. Open from 11:30. Over 150 years of history. Try their tempura and soba set! Or the fresh deep fried flour/batter at the front of the restaurant. You can smell them from a mile away, because they use sesame oil.


  • 2 Aoi-Marushin (葵丸進), 1-4-4 Asakusa, +81 3 3841-0110. Good tempura in a convenient location, with fifty years of history behind it.
  • 3 Daikokuya (大黒家), 1-38-10 Asakusa, +81 3 3844-1111. One of Tokyo's most famous tempura restaurants, with a history of more than 100 years. Be prepared for extremely long queues during meal times. An English menu is available on request.



Asakusa's local specialty drink is Denki Bran, a stiff brandy-based cocktail which originated at the Kamiya Bar but can be ordered at most drinking establishments in the area.

  • 1 Kamiya Bar (神谷バー), Asakusa 1-1-1 (right on the corner at the main intersection), +81 3 3841-5400. 11:30-22:00. The home of the Denki Bran cocktail; first opened in 1880 and a truly local institution. The ground floor is a large beer-hall-like bar, the second is a Western-style restaurant, and the upper floor serves Japanese food. Find a seat at one of the shared tables, buy your tickets at the counter, and join in the fun.
  • Bar Sandglass, Asakusa, Kaminarimon 1-16-2 (1-minute walk north of Tawaramachi metro station, turn right after the Jonathan's restaurant). If stuck in Asakusa at drinking time, this is a good place to stop. This stylish, diminutive (max. 10 people - don't bring a crowd) bar is tucked away in the back streets of Asakusa. For a drink with the friendly locals any night of the week, this is the place to come; no Japanese ability necessary.
  • 2 Asakusa Naniwaya, Asakusa 2-12-4, +81 3-3842-0988. Daily 10:00-19:00. Asakusa Naniwaya branch the original of Taiyaki Naniwaya Sohonten (Azabu Jyu-ban). You can enjoy green tea and coffee at the cafe in the shop, with all handmade Japanese sweets.


Asakusa is a popular accommodation choice for budget travelers and there are many cheap ryokan catering to foreigners in the area. For even cheaper (but less convenient) options, see the Taito district article.


  • Khaosan Tokyo Guesthouse, +81 3 5856-6560. This group of guest houses has 3 hostels within 5 minutes of Asakusa station. They also run a travelers' bar and you get 1 free drink when you stay. There are dormitories as well as private rooms available. ¥2000.
  • Sakura Hostel Asakusa (サクラホステル浅草), 2-24-2 Asakusa (about 6 minutes from Tsukuba Express train station), +81 3 3847-8111, . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00. The largest hostel in Tokyo, behind a theme park and with a direct view of Tokyo Skytree, the world's second tallest structure. Accommodations for individual backpackers, families, and group travelers. Very friendly English speaking staff. From ¥2940 person/night.
  • Taito Ryokan (the closest station is Tawaramachi on the Ginza Line), +81 3 3843-2822. An old post-war house converted into an inn. Friendly staff. Shared shower; two shared baths. No frills and thin walls, but you can't beat the price. A few blocks from Nakamise Street and Sensō-ji temple. ¥3000 per person per night.
  • Tokyo Ryokan, +81 90 8879-3599. A modern inn of a high standard. Friendly staff. Shared shower and bathrooms. Just rooms and futons are provided, but at a low price. ¥3000.
  • Hotel Asakusa & Capsule (ホテル 浅草 & カプセル), 台東区寿4-14-9 (several blocks east of Tawaramachi on the Ginza Line.), +81 3 3847-4477, fax: +81 3 3841-1525. Temporarily closed due to COVID-19. This is a co-ed capsule hotel (gender separated by floor). No English is spoken, but staff are familiar with foreigners and have information in English on printouts. Capsule ¥2200.
  • 1 Ten Ten Guesthouse, 3 Chome-4-12 Asakusa, +81 70-5652-8628. The cheapest youth hostel in Tokyo. The owner also runs a monthly dormitory (\27,000/month) near Waseda University in Shinjuku (see the website for details). Price for a dorm bed starts with ¥3,500, ¥20,000/week.


  • Ryokan Shigetsu, +81 3 3843-2345. A nice small hotel with a mix of Japanese-style and Western-style rooms next to the famous Nakamise Street. Friendly and helpful staff. Free internet in all rooms, two Japanese-style baths and showers. ¥7665-21,000.


  • 2 Mimaru Asakusa Station, 2-20-4 Kaminarimon, +81 3 6231-7183. Modern serviced apartments that incorporate classical Japanese elements like sliding doors. Kitchen and laundry facilities. Studios, 1 and 2 bedroom available. Located directly on top of Asakusa station; there is also a more high-end sister property, Mimaru Suites Asakusa, nearby. ¥50,000 and up.

Go next[edit]

Asakusa is a large Tokyo hub of the private Tobu railway, and you can be transported to a different world in two hours:

  • Ashikaga
  • Kinugawa — a hot-spring resort fallen on hard times
  • Nikko — with its national parks and opulent shrines
  • Tatebayashi
  • Tochigi — A worthwhile day trip from Tokyo for its preserved architecture and old shops.
Routes through Asakusa
NikkoShin Tochigi ← into Tokyo Skytree  N  S  END
AshikagaTatebayashi ← into Kasukabe  N  S  END
TsukubaMisato ChuoKitasenju  W  E  Akihabara
GinzaSuehirochoUeno  W  E  END
DaimonShinbashiNihonbashi  W  E  Oshiage → into TsudanumaNarita
MitoKashiwaMatsudo  N  S  Nihonbashi

This district travel guide to Asakusa has guide status. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions and arrival info. Please contribute and help us make it a star!

Create category