When visiting Tokyo, you have to tour Asakusa! One of Tokyo's historical neighborhoods, Asakusa is one of the popular areas in Tokyo that is frequently visited by many, including domestic and foreign tourists.
Seemingly frozen in time, Asakusa still boasts the air of a commercial downtown from the Edo period, with people clad in kimono and pulled rickshaws on its streets. There are many historical sites and famous stores scattered all over Asakusa, including the iconic Sensōji Temple and Hanayashiki, the oldest amusement park in Japan.
If you are going to Asakusa for the first time, you definitely should check out some of these attractions. In this article, we will show you how you can spend one day in Asakusa.
- Table of Contents
- 7:00 a.m.: Have Sensōji Temple All to Yourself in the Morning!
- 8:00 a.m.: Get Some Breakfast at The Traditional Café “Tomorrow”
- 9:00 a.m.: Enjoy the Panoramic View at the Observation Deck of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
- 10:00 a.m.: Have Fun at Asakusa Hanayashiki Amusement Park!
- 12:00 p.m.: Have giant tempura soba for lunch at the long-established “Owariya Honten”
- 1:00 p.m.: Shop for Monchhichi Goods at The Second Outlet of “Toys Terao”
- 2:00 pm.: Snack on Monaca Ice Cream at “Yamatoya,” an old tsukudani shop
- 2:30 p.m.: Cleanse Your Palate with Menchikatsu from the Award-Winning Shop “Asakusa Menchi”
- 3:30 p.m.: Try Making Your Own Food Samples at “Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya” in Kappabashi Kitchenware Town
- 6:00 p.m.: Savor Local Food at “Taishū Izakaya Okamoto” on Hoppy Street
- 8:30 p.m.: Souvenir Shopping at Don Quijote Asakusa
7:00 a.m.: Have Sensōji Temple All to Yourself in the Morning!
Six to seven in the morning is when neither Sensōji nor the Kaminarimon Gate of the temple is crowded yet, so if you visit then, you will be able to take photographs without anyone in the background. Since you do not have to spend time waiting to get a good shot, the time saved will allow you to spend more time visiting other locations!
Established in the year 628, Sensōji Temple is visited by approximately 30 million people every year. In the morning, Nakamise Shopping Street, within the grounds of Sensōji Temple, is relatively empty so you will be able to take in the view of the street, complete with the beautiful, intricate details of Japanese architecture.
8:00 a.m.: Get Some Breakfast at The Traditional Café “Tomorrow”
This traditional café, “Tomorrow,” offers breakfast sets and delicious coffee. Open for business from 6:30 a.m., it is a perfect place to start your morning in Asakusa. In spite of the café’s retro interior design, “Tomorrow” provides English menus, free wi-fi, power sockets and loans smartphone chargers as well. It is fully equipped to cater to foreign tourists.
The “Mix Morning Set” is the most popular breakfast set, available for 660 yen (tax-inclusive). This café is definitely a place you should check out when you are in Asakusa.
Cafe Tomorrow Asakusa喫茶店 友路有 浅草店
- Address 2F, 1-29-3 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō
5-minute walk from Asakusa Station on the Tokyo Skytree Line or Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
- Phone Number 03-5828-5577
Opening Hours: 6:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (breakfast is from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; lunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
Closed: Open daily
9:00 a.m.: Enjoy the Panoramic View at the Observation Deck of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
Now that you have filled your tummy, it is time to head back onto Nakamise Shopping Street and make your way to the “Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center,” located opposite the Kaminarimon Gate. On the eighth floor of the center is an observation deck. Open at 9:00 a.m., this is where you can enjoy the scenery of Asakusa, no admissions fee required.
Upon entering the observation deck, one is greeted with the sight of Tokyo Skytree in the distance. With benches available in the area, visitors can relax and rest their feet while taking in the spectacular view.
As you look out onto the streets of Asakusa, it may also be a good opportunity to refer to the information board and decide where to head to next!
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
10:00 a.m.: Have Fun at Asakusa Hanayashiki Amusement Park!
Hanayashiki is the oldest amusement park in Japan, opened in 1853. This is definitely a popular attraction you should visit at least once. Asakusa Hanayashiki’s selling point is its rollercoasters – added to the amusement park in 1953, these rollercoasters are the oldest rollercoasters in existence in Japan today.
Apart from rollercoasters, there are other thrill rides, including the drop tower “Space Shot.”
12:00 p.m.: Have giant tempura soba for lunch at the long-established “Owariya Honten”
Established in 1860, Owariya remains a lively soba (buckwheat noodles) shop patronized by tourists and regular customers. Its signature dish is the “Tempura Soba” (1,600 yen; tax-inclusive) that includes giant tempura that measures as long as 20 centimeters!
Owariya’s prawn tempura is made using high-quality prawns and fried in the best quality pure sesame oil. The soba noodles are made every day in-store by grinding buckwheat flour from Akita Prefecture in custom-made stone mills. As for the broth, katsuobushi, or dried bonito flakes, from Makurazaki, Kagoshima Prefecture is boiled for an hour and a half to produce an umami-filled soup stock. The shop’s kaeshi, a mixture of soy sauce, sugar and mirin (cooking rice wine), which has been passed down for many years, is then added to this soup stock to produce flavorful broth. Thanks to this signature dish, you can now enjoy the crispy texture of the prawn tempura while slurping delicious soba noodles!
1:00 p.m.: Shop for Monchhichi Goods at The Second Outlet of “Toys Terao”
Monchhichi is a stuffed monkey doll that became a hit for its adorable expressions when it was first released in 1974. From the late 70s to the 80s, Monchhichi was mainly marketed in Europe, gaining lots of popularity overseas as well. Because of its success and popularity, Monchhichi has inspired various animation projects in multiple countries.
“Toys Terao” is a toy shop established in 1885 near Sensōji. Its second store is now well-known for stocking Monchhichi goods, numbering more than 100 kinds and even limited-edition goods. If you are a fan of Monchhichi, don’t forget to check this shop out.
Toys Terao 2トイステラオ 2号店
- Address 1-36-1 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to
3-minute walk from Asakusa Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Tobu Isesaki Line or Toei Asakusa Line (7-minute walk from Asakusa Station on the Tsukuba Express)
- Phone Number 03-3841-8422
Opening Hours: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on weekends)
Closed: No fixed days
2:00 pm.: Snack on Monaca Ice Cream at “Yamatoya,” an old tsukudani shop
After shopping, head to “Yamatoya,” located along Dempoin Street. This is an old tsukudani (preserved food simmered in soy sauce and mirin) shop that has been running since the Meiji era. Due to the changing times, fewer and fewer people come to buy tsukudani, and because of that, the shop has adapted to also sell sweets like ice cream and ramune (a Japanese carbonated soft drink) when it is hot outside.
The shop’s menu is in both Japanese and English.
This is the most popular “Matcha Monaca Ice Cream” (450 yen; tax-inclusive). Consisting of a large, generous scoop of matcha ice cream sandwiched between two crisp monaca wafers, this dessert looks amazing in pictures too. The monaca ice cream is served in a cup, so you will be able to enjoy every bit of it!
- Address 2-3-3, Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
5-minute walk from Asakusa Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line, Tobu Isesaki Line (Tobu Skytree Line) and Tsukuba Express
- Phone Number 03-3842-7725
Opening Hours: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed: Tuesdays and Thursdays
2:30 p.m.: Cleanse Your Palate with Menchikatsu from the Award-Winning Shop “Asakusa Menchi”
After a sweet dessert, you might be craving for something salty instead. If so, head on over to “Asakusa Menchi” next door for some ground meat cutlets, or menchikatsu (250 yen; tax-inclusive). Besides winning an award from China’s Tabelog site, this shop has also been ranked first for four consecutive years in a contest held at Asakusa Cultural Tourism Information Center.
The menchikatsu’s selling point is its meatiness and juiciness, so much that as you take bites of the piping hot menchikatsu, the meat juices come oozing out. Bursting with umami, this menchikatsu is definitely a must-try for cleansing your palate after having sweets!
- Address 2-3-3 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to
5-minute walk from Asakusa Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line, Tobu Isesaki Line (Tobu Skytree Line) or Tsukuba Express
- Phone Number 03-6231-6629
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Closed: Open daily
3:30 p.m.: Try Making Your Own Food Samples at “Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya” in Kappabashi Kitchenware Town
About a 15-minute walk away from Asakusa is the famous Kappabashi Kitchenware Town, where many food-related stores are located. One of them is “Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya Kappabashi-ten,” which regularly holds hands-on workshops for participants to try their hand at making tempura and lettuce food samples.
With their uncanny resemblance to the actual food, Japan’s food samples in the display showcases of restaurants have always wowed foreigners.
In general, the hands-on session will be conducted in Japanese, but English sessions are also available for bookings when English-speaking staff are on duty. Because the making of food samples involves working with hot water and melted wax, all participants have to be briefed before starting the activity. As such, participants should join a tour with a guide by signing up at the link below, or go with someone who is able to translate.
6:00 p.m.: Savor Local Food at “Taishū Izakaya Okamoto” on Hoppy Street
How about enjoying local cuisine for dinner after spending time in the Kitchenware Town? A 10-minute walk from Kappabashi Kitchenware Town in the direction of Sensōji will take you to Hoppi Street, an area with many izakaya restaurants.
Started around 60 years ago, “Taishū Izakaya Okamoto,” the oldest establishment on this street, has tables and chairs out at the shopfront on the road as well as a retro-style countertop inside. When night falls, this popular restaurant is filled with the laughter and cheers of locals and tourists alike.
Besides the typical snacks like edamame, chilled tomatoes and tamagoyaki, the plentiful menu also includes yakitori (grilled skewered chicken), yakizakana (grilled fish), yakisoba (grilled soba noodles) and oden (fishcake stew).
8:30 p.m.: Souvenir Shopping at Don Quijote Asakusa
There are lots of souvenirs here that are unique to Japan, such t-shirts limited to Don Quijote Asakusa (1,290 yen; tax-inclusive). Alternatively, you can find food souvenirs like “Jagariko Sukiyaki-aji,” a snack manufactured in collaboration with an old sukiyaki and shabu-shabu restaurant “Asakusa Imahan” that was established in 1956 (833 yen; tax-exclusive). If you are looking for something more traditional, you can consider getting a personalized senjafuda, which is a placard brought on shrine and temple visits to be pasted on the gates or buildings as a form of commemoration. Your name will be inscribed on the senjafuda in kanji.
As this Don Quijote is open 24 hours, you can visit any time you like. In addition, there are staff members on site who are able to communicate with customers in English and Mandarin Chinese. Payment methods have also been increased to include more types of credit cards.
*The information above about the goods and prices are correct as of September 2019 at Don Quijote Asakusa
Don Quijote Asakusaドン・キホーテ 浅草店
- Address 2-10, Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to, 111-0032
1-minute walk from Asakusa Station on the Tsukuba Express
- Phone Number 03-5826-2511
Opening Hours: 24 hours (all day)
Closed: Open daily
There are so many places to visit in Asakusa that one day would not be enough. In fact, there are lots of other attractions besides the ones we have introduced in this article. Enjoy Asakusa to your heart’s content with this one-day itinerary!
Written by: Mae Kakizaki
*The above article is based on information from May 2020
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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