HOME Tokyo and Surroundings Tokyo Asakusa From Free Spots to Hidden Gems: 3 Must-Visit Sightseeing Spots in Asakusa, Tokyo!
From Free Spots to Hidden Gems: 3 Must-Visit Sightseeing Spots in Asakusa, Tokyo!

From Free Spots to Hidden Gems: 3 Must-Visit Sightseeing Spots in Asakusa, Tokyo!

Date published: 18 November 2019
Last updated: 12 April 2020

Tokyo's Asakusa area is a popular sightseeing destination for domestic and foreign travelers. It is near Tokyo Skytree and Kappabashi-dori 'kitchen town', and it also has many sightseeing spots like Sensoji Temple and Hanayashiki.

Asakusa is an area where you can appreciate the modern and traditional atmosphere of Japan at the same time. It has magnificent viewpoints and places to experience Japanese culture.

We would like to introduce 3 sightseeing spots themed with cultural experience, townscape, and sightseeing. In Asakusa, there are many free sightseeing spots to enjoy. Let’s dive in and check them out!

Cultural Experience: Edo Kiriko Workshop Sokichi

Cultural Experience: Edo Kiriko Workshop Sokichi

First, we would like to recommend Edo kiriko workshop for the cultural experience. Edo kiriko is a type of faceted glass from the Edo area (current day Tokyo). Sokichi is located 30 seconds away on foot from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Asakusa Station Exit 4. On the first floor of the retro building they sell various glass products, and on the second floor you can experience Edo kiriko.

The Edo kiriko experience course has a basic cost of 3,000 yen for adults and 2,500 yen for 18 years of age and below (excluding tax), it also includes the glass fee. With the basic price you can pick one type of glass out of six. For the color coated glasses, it requires an additional fee of 900 - 2,522 yen. Pick out a design and glass from the sample and then start cutting the glass with the Edo kiriko method.

This time we selected the clear glass that is available with the basic price.

This is the machine used to cut the glass. There are 6 machines in the room, and you will go back and forth to the desk with your draft and cut your glass at the machine.

You will practice on the sample glass first. The key is to place the blade perpendicular to the glass. Place the blade along the draft and add a little force to cut it. If you move your hand to the front and back, the line will be longer, and if you apply force the line will become wider.

First, you will select the design for the bottom side. There are various designs such as flowers, autumn leaves, and fish. There are so many that it’s hard to pick one! Don’t worry the designs are selected for beginners, so it isn’t too difficult.

Once you pick your design, you will trace it with a pen. This time I chose the design with 5 flower petals. First I placed a mark at the tip of the pentagram and then used a ruler to draw a line to the center.

Place the blade along the traced design, and it should look something like this. You should start getting used to the machine and get a feel for how to place the blade and the amount of force needed.

After the bottom side is done, next is the side. As the bottom side, there are many traditional designs you can choose from, such as fireworks, fish, and roses.

I chose the fireworks design. The staff drew the vertical lines that are divided into 6 equal parts on the glass. You can adjust the lengths of the vertical lines with an eraser and start tracing the fireworks design.

Once you cut along the traced design, it is finished! It’s the most simple method for beginners, but it still looks quite nice. The technique used depends on the design you select, and the staff will guide you along to create a unique product and experience.

Also for 200 yen per word (excluding tax), the staff can engrave alphabets or katakana characters. You could always have them engrave your name or someone else name for a gift.

  • Sokichi
    創吉
    • Address 2-1-13 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo
    • Nearest Station 浅草駅
    • Phone Number 03-6802-8948
    • Hours: Weekday 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. / Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
      Closed: New Year’s Holidays

Enjoy Nature and Landscape: Panoramic View at Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center Viewing Deck

Enjoy Nature and Landscape: Panoramic View at Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center Viewing Deck

Next up is a spot where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Asakusa. The Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center is on the other side of Kaminarimon. It is the tourist information center of Tatio Ward, and it was built under the concept of “search, show, and support,” and it provides useful information and services to visitors.

The viewing deck on the 8th floor of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center is a recommended view spot where you can see the cityscape of Asakusa and Tokyo Skytree for free!

The first you see when stepping into the viewing deck is Tokyo Skytree. There are benches on the spacious deck where you can rest and view the cityscape.

On the left side of the viewing deck you can get a view of Nakamise Dori that starts from Kaminarimon and ends at the main hall of Senso-ji Temple. The information panels are also written in English so you can see where key facilities are such as Hanayashiki and Asakusa Public Hall.

You can enjoy the view of key sightseeing spots that represent Asakusa while comparing it with the information panel.

On the right side of the viewing deck, you can see Tokyo Skytree, Sumida River, Azumabashi Bridge and the fire object on top of Asahi Beer Hall.

Here you can compare the cityscape with the actual view and enjoy it from a different angle than you would normally see.

Unfortunately, it was cloudy on the day we visited, however on a nice day the contrast between the blue sky and the cityscape of Asakusa is amazing. We strongly recommend the viewing deck located on the 8th floor of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center; it is a place where you can get a panoramic view of Asakusa.

  • Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center Observation Viewing Deck
    浅草文化観光センター 展望テラス
    • Address 8F, 2-18-9 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo
    • Nearest Station Asakusa
    • Open: 9:00 a.m. -10:00 p.m.
      Closed: None
      *Facility may close during maintenance

Sightseeing: Tour of Key Spots in Asakusa by Free Guide

Sightseeing: Tour of Key Spots in Asakusa by Free Guide

To fully enjoy sightseeing in Asakusa, we want to go over the free guidance provided by volunteer sightseeing guides.

The free guide by the Taito Ward Sightseeing Volunteer Association provides sightseeing volunteer guides approved by the Taito Ward mayor. The guides will take you through Kaminarimon, Nakamise Dori, and the main all of Senso-ji Temple and give explanations. The guide is mainly targeted towards Japanese people, and it is conducted twice a day from 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Every Saturday and Sunday, excluding New Year’s Holidays.

Signup starts 20 minutes before the tour and has a limit of 20 people. It is first come first served with no reservations, sign-ups are conducted at the meeting place located on the 1st floor of Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center. Each tour takes about 1 hour, and you are free to leave when you want. Everything is free.

The tour course by the volunteer guide goes to Kaminarimon, Nakamise, Hozomon, Goju-no-to (five-storied pagoda), main hall, Asakusa Shrine, Nitenmon Gate. The tour takes you through the main sightseeing spots in Asakusa.

Contact
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center 3rd Floor Management Office
Phone: 03-35842-5501 (9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

■Taito Ward Sightseeing Volunteer Association
Phone: 03-3842-5599 (10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) *closed on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and 2nd and 4th Wednesday
Website: http://www.taitouboragai.com/index.html

*The tour may be cancelled without notice on bad weather, extremely hot days, and crowded days with events.
*They will not hold onto your belongings.

Also, for foreign visitors who don’t understand Japanese, there is the free walking tour service with guides provided by Tokyo SGG Club.

Tokyo SGG Club is a volunteer group that guides foreign visitors in Tokyo. They operate in 6 permanent activity bases in Tokyo and guide about 106,000 people annually. They are located at the information counter on the first floor of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center and provide sightseeing information, along with guided tours around Asakusa to foreign guests.

The Asakusa area tour is conducted every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Prior reservation is not required, to join the tour head to the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center 1st floor counter 10 minutes before the tour time.

The guided tour in English takes about 90 minutes and goes to Sensoji Temple and areas nearby.

Contact
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center 3rd Floor Management Office
Phone: 03-35842-5501 (9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

■Tokyo SGG Club
Phone: 03-6280-6710 (9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
Official Site: https://tokyosgg.jp/index.html

The free guide by Taito Ward Sightseeing Volunteer Association and the walking tour by Tokyo SGG Club are services so you can enjoy the main sightseeing areas that represent Asakusa with explanations. You can't miss the area around Senso-ji Temple for Asakusa sightseeing. Touring the area with a guide is sure to increase your enjoyment. The following are some locations you will visit during the tour.

Kaminarimon is the main gate of Sensoji temple and one of the landmarks for Asakusa.

  • Kaminarimon
    • 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)
      1 minute on foot
    • Phone Number 03-3842-0181

Hozomon is a brilliant gate with two Nio statues on both sides, and a 4.5m long straw sandal that acts a charm to ward off evil.

  • Hozomon Gate
    • 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

The five-storied pagoda that stands out in Sensoji temple. The illuminated pagoda at night is impressive.

  • Five-storied Pagoda
    • Address 2-3-1, Asakusa, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
      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 03-3828-5171

This is the main hall of Sensoji Temple. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and it is one of the major sightseeing locations that represent Asakusa. The temple grounds which include Nakamise Shopping Street, you can enjoy snacks and find gifts.

  • 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

There are many websites and media that cover the major sightseeing locations of Asakusa, however having a guide explain what you see right there at that moment is the charm of free tours! We recommend adding a little more to your Asakusa sightseeing by communicating with the guides.

Asakusa is filled with cool places to explore. There are some spots where you can enjoy free services as well. We were only able to cover just a part of it this time, but I hope you can include it in your sightseeing plans.

Written by: Naho Jishikyu

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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