Until recently the prime attraction for visitors east across the Sumida-gawa was Ryōgoku, home to the capital’s sumo stadium and the engaging Edo-Tokyo Museum, covering the city’s history from the seventeenth century to the present day. Looming over both these is the soaring Tokyo Sky Tree telecommunications tower, a mega construction project that is drawing attention to the previously untouristed residential and industrial area of Oshiage.
This part of Tokyo, the core of the Shitamachi area, is the capital at its most traditional. Nowhere is this more obvious than among the craftshops and neighbourhood restaurants and ryokan of Asakusa and in the constant festival atmosphere around its magnificent temple, Sensō-ji.Read More
ASAKUSA (浅草) is best known as the site of Tokyo’s most venerable Buddhist temple, Sensō-ji, whose towering worship hall is filled with a continual throng of petitioners and holiday-makers. Stalls before the temple cater to the crowds, peddling trinkets and keepsakes as they have done for centuries; old-fashioned craftshops display exquisite hair combs, paper fans and calligraphy brushes; and all around is the inevitable array of restaurants, drinking places and fast-food stands. It’s the infectious carnival atmosphere that makes Asakusa so appealing. The biggest festival here is the Sanja Matsuri, but there are numerous smaller celebrations; ask at the information centre in front of Sensō-ji’s main gate if there’s anything on.
Though you can easily reach Asakusa by subway, a more pleasant way of getting here – or away – is by river. The ferry terminal is under Azuma-bashi, opposite Philippe Starck’s eye-catching Flamme d’Or Building.