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10 Steps to Become an Asakusa and Ueno Expert

10 Steps to Become an Asakusa and Ueno Expert

Update: 29 April 2017

Asakusa and Ueno are districts where you can enjoy historical spots and bustling feel that characteristic of Tokyo. Let me introduce you to things you should try when you visit these areas.

Bathe in Smoke at Sensoji Temple

Bathe in 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.

  • Senso-ji Temple
    • Address 2-3-1, Asakusa, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 111-0032
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Asakusa Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Toei Asakusa Line / Tobu Isesaki Line (Tobu Sky Tree Line) / Tsukuba Express)
      5 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3842-0181

Try Japanse Snacks

Try Japanse Snacks

Sensoji Temple's 250-meter approach from Kaminarimon (an entrance gate) 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.

Become a Ninja

Become a Ninja

The amusement park called Hanayashiki has a long history in Asakusa. 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)

  • Hanayashiki
    • Address 2-28-1, Asakusa, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 111-0032
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Asakusa Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Toei Asakusa Line / Tobu Isesaki Line (Tobu Sky Tree Line) / Tsukuba Express)
      3 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3842-8780

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 taking a photo, and you will have a photo as if you are dressed in the character's clothing! In Asakusa, there are comic foregrounds of, such as, a character carrying a Sanja Matsuri Festival's mikoshi (a portable shrine), Japanese comedians, and many others. Be on the lookout for them while you walk around!

Take a Ride on a Water Bus

Take a Ride on a Water Bus

A water bus takes you around the area slowly as you watch views of Tokyo from the water. We recommend that you take the 40-minute Sumida River Line course that connects Asakusa and Hinode Pier. 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

Buying Pandas

Buying Pandas

Everyone loves Ueno Zoo's giant pandas. 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.

Drink at an Izakaya (Japanese-style pub)

Drink 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.

Get a Taste of Asian Culture

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.

Take a Visit to the Benten-do Buddhist Temple

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.

  • Benten-do
    • Address 2-1, Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
      View Map
    • Nearest Station 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

Watching TOKYO SKYTREE(R)

Watching 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.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.

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