Asakusa and Ueno are districts where you can enjoy historical spots and bustling feel that characteristic sense of Old Tokyo. Although they're perfect places to wander around and enjoy the ambiance, here are 10 things to consider adding to your Tokyo trip plan!
1. Bathe in Incense Smoke at Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple is not only one of the most popular in Asakusa, but all of Tokyo In front of its main hall, you will see a spot where smoke rises. This is one of the Buddhist ritual items, called jokoro (a large incense burner). This is used to burn a senko, a type of incense stick. It is believed that rubbing the smoke over one's body has a healing effect.
2. Try Japanese Snacks & Sweets
Snacking while strolling is a great way of keeping energy up without taking too much time away from seeing the sights!
Sensoji Temple's 250-meter approach from Kaminarimon (entrance gate with a giant lantern) leading to Hozomon (another entrance gate) is a commercial street called Nakamise-dori Street. On both sides of the street, there are shops selling the perfect takeaway Japanese snacks such as dango (dumplings), senbei (rice crackers), and ningyo-yaki (doll-shaped cakes). They are relatively cheap, and you can buy them by the piece, so please do try Japan's comfort food.
3. Become a Ninja
Hanayashiki - the amusement park located in Asakusa - has a long history in the area. Not only are there a variety of nostalgic rides, but here you can experience being a ninja (reservation is required). Items used for dressing up as a ninja will be perfect souvenirs from Japan.
(*The image is just a sample)
4. Try a Comic Foreground
Another fun thing to to do in Asakusa is taking a picture with a comic foreground. A comic foreground is a panel with a character picture with its face cut out. Stick your face out in the cutout when snapping a photo, and you'll have a photo as though you were dressed in the character's clothing!
In Asakusa, there are comic foregrounds with a character carrying a Sanja Matsuri Festival's mikoshi (a portable shrine), Japanese comedians, and many others. They're especially popular with kids. Be on the lookout for them while you walk around!
5. Take a Ride on the Water Bus
The popular water bus takes you around the area slowly as you watch views of Tokyo from the water. Seating can become somewhat crowded especially on weekends, so be sure to get tickets early! We recommend taking the 40-minute Sumida River Line course that connects Asakusa and Hinode Pier, or the slightly longer course which connects Asakusa and Odaiba. Have a look at an image of Tokyo with different bridges, for a harmony of old and new.
TOKYO CRUISE Sumidagawa Line東京観光汽船 隅田川ライン
- Address 1-1-1 Hanakawado, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0033, Japan
6. Buy Pandas
Everyone loves Ueno Zoo's giant pandas, and "pandamonium" is again swirling through the area after the panda cub Xiang Xiang was born - inspiring new product designs, from breads to stuffed toys. Their bodies covered with fluffy black and white fur are simply too cute. At souvenir shops in Ueno, you will find many cute panda items such as stuffed dolls and key rings.
7. Sip drinks at an Izakaya (Japanese-style pub)
Many casual-style izakaya pubs line up in Hoppy-dori near Sensoji Temple. You can enjoy eating and drinking in an open and relaxed atmosphere with tables placed in front of shops. Shops are always crowded with regular customers, but they warmly welcome tourists. A Shitamachi-style (old town-style) interaction is one of the great things about drinking at izakaya pubs.
8. Get a Taste of Asian Culture
The basement food store inside Ameyoko Center Building is a place that makes you feel like you are in Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Thailand without actually leaving Japan. Everything Asian from spices and condiments to fresh fish and vegetables from these countries can be found here. Enjoy the chaotic atmosphere that only Asia can offer.
9. Take a Visit to the Benten-do Buddhist Temple
Benten-do is located on top of the floating Nakanoshima in Shinobazu Pond at Ueno Park. Its unique hexagonal building catches everyone's eyes. Benzaiten a Buddhist goddess), enshrined in the building, is said to bring luck in academics, arts, fortune, and love. Lotus flowers, blossom fully from spring to summer, are worth seeing.
2-1, Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
Ueno Station （Hokkaido Shinkansen Line / Tohoku Shinkansen Line / Akita Shinkansen Line / Yamagata Shinkansen Line / Joetsu Shinkansen Line / Hokuriku Shinkansen Line / JR Keihin-Tohoku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Tohoku Main Line / JR Utsunomiya Line / JR Takasaki Line / JR Joban Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line）
8 minutes on foot
- Phone Number 03-3821-4638
- Address 2-1, Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
10. Gaze at TOKYO SKYTREE (R)
TOKYO SKYTREE (R), the world's tallest free-standing broadcasting tower. This grand tower can be viewed from many places in Tokyo. Especially from nearby Asakusa and Ueno areas, where you can enjoy views from different angles. It is very unique to Tokyo that traditional temples and shrines can be viewed together from the tower. The tower's reflection on the river water, that can be seen from Jikken Bridge over Yoko-jikken River, is also popular.
Studio Nanairo Asakusa浅草変身写真館 スタジオ七色
2-17-8 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 111-0034
Asakusa Station （Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Toei Asakusa Line / Tobu Isesaki Line (Tobu Sky Tree Line) / Tsukuba Express）
3 minutes on foot
- Phone Number 03-3843-7716
- Address 2-17-8 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 111-0034
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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