Tokyo's major sightseeing area of Asakusa draws tourists from all over the world. There are so many charming areas around the town, ranging from majestic, historic temples to contemporary buildings. It can be hard to figure out where to go and how to get around!
This time we wanted to introduce a half-day plan for people who are going to Asakusa for the first time or for people who want to rediscover the charms of Asakusa. However, it is not a normal half-day plan, and it is a half-day plan that selected spots in Asakusa where you can enjoy within a budget of 5,000 yen.
The plan covers key spots like Sensoji Temple, Nakamise Shopping Street, and the new popular beef katsu specialty shop. If you visit the following places you might be able to call yourself the “master of Asakusa.”
9:00 a.m.: Our Journey Starts from Sensoji Temple!
The famous photo spot of Sensoji Temple is the red lantern that has the character “Kaminarimon” (雷門) written on it. The official name is Furaijinmon, and make sure you don’t miss Fujin and Raijin - the deities of wind and rain - that are enshrined to the sides of the gate.
In front of Sensoji Temple, there are many people who are waving smoke to themselves. This is called “Jokoro” and it is said that if you wave smoke to the part of your body with an illness, it will cure it.
Inside the temple grounds, they sell good luck charms called omikuji. There are also fortune slips in English, and we recommend giving it a shot!
[Money spent] 300 yen for fortune slip + monetary offering
10 a.m.: Shopping and Eating at Nakamise Shopping Street
Nakamise Shopping Street (Nakamise Dori) is located between the Furaijinmon and Hozomon. It is one of Japan’s oldest shopping streets and, there are many shops that sell perfect gifts such as kimono goods, chopsticks, small goods and toys with Japanese designs.
There are also many shops that sell Japanese sweets, such as the Kaminari Okoshi made from rice, and Ningyoyaki, which are little baked cakes that are shaped like people or animals. Recently items such as age-manju (sweet deep-fried cakes), melonpan (type of sweet bun), and kibi dango (millet dumpling) have been added to the regional specialty and have long lines in front of their stores.
Since you can eat snacks on the go, we recommend trying things out that interests you.
[Money spent] 1,000 yen for snacks
11:30 a.m.: Get a Magnificent View from Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
With your back towards Sensoji Temple’s Furaijinmon, you can see the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center to the front. At the tourist information center, there are staff members who can speak foreign languages, and you can receive sightseeing information for Asakusa and Tokyo.
The observation terrace is on the 8th floor. It is a great spot to get a panoramic view of the cityscape of Asakusa for free. You can even see Tokyo Skytree to the right. Take a break at one of the benches, and you can plan your next move.
[Money spent] 0 yen
2-18-9, Kaminarimon, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 111-0034
Asakusa Station （Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Toei Asakusa Line / Tobu Isesaki Line (Tobu Sky Tree Line) / Tsukuba Express）
1 minute on foot
- Phone Number 03-3842-5566
- Address 2-18-9, Kaminarimon, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 111-0034
12:30 p.m.: Japan’s New Popular Dish “Gyu-Katsu”
Gyu-Katsu has become popular in recent years in Japan. It is deep-fried beef that is covered in panko bread crumbs. It doesn’t have a lingering aftertaste for a deep-fried dish and receives good reviews domestically and internationally.
The largest domestic Gyu-katsu chain Kyoto Katsugyu, which started the trend, has a restaurant in Asakusa, and we recommend having lunch here. The Kyoto Katsugyu Asakusa Hanayashiki Store is located about 5 minutes form Senso-ji Temple. Look for the large lantern.
The interior of the store has lanterns and Japanese style tile roofs, which creates a sophisticated Japanese atmosphere.
At Gyukatsu Kyoto Katsugyu, they believe that the best condition to eat gyu-katsu is “medium rare,” and provides real “gyukatsu” cut from specially selected quality “authentic blocks of beef,” instead of chunks of processed and bound meat.
The menu offers various parts such as rib-eye, chuck, tongue, tenderloin, and kuroge wagyu. The most popular item on the menu is the “Kuroge Wagyu Gyukatsu Kyotama-zen” 2,480 yen (excluding tax). The dish offers umami of the fat and rich flavor of the beef, and it is a popular dish with Japanese people and foreign visitors too.
Another popular dish is the “Gyu-Rose Katsuzen Nami” 1,380 yen (excluding tax). It is a katsu where the umami of the red meat is condensed; also it has been the main dish on the menu since the store opened. A nice part of the restaurant is you can get free refills of barley rice, cabbage, and akadashi miso soup.
A unique feature of Kyoto Katsugyu is they offer various types of sauce. The Gyu-Rose Katsuzen has 5 types of sauces, we recommend eating it in the order of wasabi shoyu, sansho shio (Japanese pepper and salt), Gyukatsu sauce, Kyo-curry sauce, and Onsen tamago (soft boiled egg).
First, start with the light flavored sauce of shoyu and sansho, and then you can use the curry sauce or egg and eat it with rice. We finished our meal in no time while trying out different sauces.
The menu and seasonings are written in English, so you know exactly what you are eating.
Also from September, they offer an all-you-can-drink plan at night, which is only available at the Asakusa Hanayashiki store. The all-you-can-drink plan includes niku-tofu (simmered beef and tofu), kushi-age (deep fried skewered meat and vegetables), 30 types of drinks, rice, and akadashi miso soup. It is a great deal and a great choice for dinner.
[Money spent] 1,380 yen for lunch
Kyoto Katsugyu Asakusa Hanayashiki Store京都勝牛 浅草花屋敷店
- Address 1F Mori Bld, 2-4-1 Asakusa Taito-ku, Tokyo
8 minute walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Asakusa Station, Exit 1
- Phone Number 03-5830-3884
Hours: Monday - Friday 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (L.O. 2:30 p.m.) 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. (L.O. 9:30 p.m.), Saturdays, Sundays, holidays 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (L.O. 9:30 p.m.)
2:00pm: Experience Asakusa Hanayashiki, Japan's Oldest Amusement Park!
Right in front of Kyoto Katsugyu Hanayashiki Store is Japan’s oldest amusement park Asakusa Hanayashiki, which opened in 1853. The main attraction is the Roller Coaster. It was created in 1953, and it is the oldest roller coaster in Japan. It goes at a whopping 42km/hr, and the slow speed is oddly refreshing!
There are other fun rides, such as the free-falling machine “Space Shot.”
Also, there is the “Ennichi” section where you can enjoy Japanese festival games year-round.
[Money spent] Entrance fee 1,000 yen + attraction fees @ 100 yen per ride x 3 = 1,300 yen
[Money spent] 4,120 yen + monetary offering *calculated with 10% consumption tax
You can fully enjoy Asakusa under 5,000 yen when focusing your tour around historical buildings such as Senso-ji Temple, Nakamise Shopping Street, and Asakusa Hanayashiki, all while eating delicious food! We hope that you have a wonderful time in Asakusa!
Written by: Ran Tanaka
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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