5 July 2010


Asakusa is one of the districts in Tokyo, famous for the Kaminarimon front gate as well as the Sensou-ji temple that the gate leads to. I've been there back in 2007, but it was raining hard the day we visited so we didn't get to see too much. Luckily we have a much better weather this time we visited Asakusa, so we had a better time looking around.

The Kaminarimon (雷門, i.e. Thunder Gate) is one of the most distinctive piece of architecture in Asakusa.

A kouban (交番) can be seen on the right in front of the Kaminarimon. They are like smaller police station, or sometimes known as "police box", although phone boxes outside Japan are different and resemble more of a phone booth instead.

There are people who offer rickshaw service around Asakusa. They also act as tour guides so they tell you history or other info of various places as they take you around the area. You can decide how long you want to do the guide, so it is quite a flexible service. We also have a guy who can speak pretty decent English (he said he studied in Japanese school when he was in Hong Kong), which is quite uncommon to encounter outside airports and department stores I must say.

According to one of the rickshaw guys, this coffee shop was visited by Ozamu Tezuka

Can't remember exactly what this is, but I think this door leads to Denboin

The two man who did the rickshaw service for us. Gotta thank their hard work for taking us around in such hot weather that day!

Asakusa Imahan restaurant (Orange Street branch). This restaurant specialises on beef bowls and other beef dishes, and is a well known and high class one, as it even appeared on TV shows as well (actually that's how we came to know this restaurant). That being said, the price is not exactly for those who want a budget meal though.

Website can be accessed here: http://asakusaimahan.co.jp/english/index.html

My beef bowl meal at Imahan.

Closer look at beef bowl.

Asakusa Kokaido Hall

Hand prints of various directors and actors can be found in front of Asakusa Kokaido Hall. Kinda reminds me of the Avenue of Stars back in Hong Kong.

And here's a hand print of Kitano Takeshi (aka Beat Takeshi)

The Tokyo Sky Tree, which is currently under construction, can be seen here in Asakusa approximately 1.7km from its location. As a new TV broadcast tower, its current state is already taller than Tokyo Tower.

Nakamise-douri is the street that leads one from Kaminarimon straight to the Sensou-ji temple. There are various shops on both sides of the lane, ranging from shops selling taiyaki, umbrellas, or other souvenirs and food. If it's raining that day, there will be a cover that covers the whole Nakamise-douri so you won't get wet. as you can see here and here.

Houzoumon (宝蔵門) - a second gate to the main temple of Sensou-ji. You see this at the end of the Nakamise-douri, i.e. Nakamise douri is sandwiched between the Kaminorimon to the south and Houzoumon to the north.

Closer look at the Houzoumon, with the gold colour lanterns next to the middle one, and the sign writing "Senjou-ji" in kanji seen at top

The large lantern inside Houzoumon

The main temple (hondo) of Sensou-ji itself was under refurbishment when we were there, but it was just for the outside only. There is a painting over the Sensou-ji to make it still looking attractive enough for people who come to visit it.

Omikuji are sold in one of the buildings near the Sensou-ji - 100 yen each.

Inside the Sensou-ji temple you can throw coins at the offering box and pray for blessing.

Beyond the net you can see there is a Buddhist monk praying there.

This is Asakusa Shrine, a Shinto shrine to the east of Sensou-ji.

A map of area around the Sensou-ji

A purification fountain at Asakusa Shrine.

I didn't read up what this ring is about, but apparently you are supposed to walk around it in a figure-of-8 pattern to give you good luck or something. Correct me if I am wrong.

Niten Mon Gate on the east.

There's an English description on the history

A view of the Houzoumon and the pagoda from the north-east.

The five-storied pagoda of Sensou-ji

Taiyaki being made in one of the taiyaki shops. The man first fills one half of the fish-shaped mold with pancake or waffle batter, then add red bean paste on top of it before adding another layer of batter over it like a sandwich.

He then puts the other half of the mold over, hence completing the mold and cooks them until it is golden brown.

View of Nakamise-douri towards Kaminarimon. It was an incredibly sunny day with very few clouds spotted in the sky.

View of one side of the Nakamise-douri. There are lots of people posing for photographs here and there or even just stopping around to take pictures of the place like me.

A machine that makes the taiyaki all the way from molding down to packaging - all done so automatically. It also serves as an attraction for the tourists who are visiting this shop (myself included).

The lantern in Kaminarimon.

This board at the kouban (police box) shows yesterday's casualties due to traffic accidents. The red number is the number of people killed, whereas the black one is number of people injured. In short, 1 died and 193 were injured as a result of traffic accidents in Tokyo the day before.

One more picture of the Kaminarimon before we left Asakusa.

I am not so familiar with temples and shrines, but if you want to know more about visiting a temple or shrine in Japan, you can check this page out so you will know what to do or not to embarrass yourself in front of the public.

Asakusa is definitely a place worth visiting as a tourist, especially if you are into shrines and temples. The Nakamise-douri that leads to the Sensou-ji has lots of shops and has a lively atmosphere. If you have the money do give the rickshaw service a try, especially if you find someone who can speak English! They know the place and will definitely help you to know and appreciate the place better. Man, they can even recommend you restaurants too after you finish the tour in the morning!


  1. That a lot of Lanterns in that area, never heard of this place, but glad you mentioned it, and lookslike you've really enjoyed^^, btw did you try the omikuji?

    Random stuff comin out of me, but the place kinda reminds me of the third mission in Gantz

  2. love the shots - makes me feel like I was there :)

  3. Whoa, that lantern in the last shot is freakin huge o_0

  4. I think the Avenue of the stars looks most awesome at night. It's even better when they have special exhibits around that area.

    And that Tokyo Sky Tree will definitely be a place to visit the next time I'm there. They got some weird taste in architecture.

  5. Oh this looks really nice!
    SO are Taiyaki good?

    I wonder if you once again let your sis take the pics or if you did them yourself this time

  6. @ GunStray:
    It was raining hard when I went there for the first time, so I was glad to be able to take pictures of the area in best weather that day. Didn't try the omikuji, but that's just me since I don't normally do fortune telling stuff anyway.

    @ Bluedrakon:
    Thanks! Glad you like the photos; the great weather really helped bringing the atmosphere out!

    @ anonymous_object:
    The lantern has at least the height of 2 persons for sure!

    @ Tommy:
    Avenue of Stars really shines with the harbour view and the lit buildings over the city's silhouette from Hong Kong Island. Not so glamorous in Asakusa, and probably doesn't mean so much to one if one does not recognise the names on the floors.

    Tokyo Sky Tree will be opened to public in Spring 2012. Still some more time to go, but it's gonna be on my to-go list when it's finished and opened too!

    @ Blowfish:
    The taiyaki is good; definitely worth a try~ (unless you don't like red bean paste)

    The pictures in this post are taken by me with my own camera. My sister has her own set of photos in her camera (which is better than mine). I think the last time I used my sister's photos for blogging was for the Kumamoto trip (which I wasn't there), but otherwise I use my own for the trips I have been so far unless mentioned otherwise.

  7. Looks like you had a fun time there. The beef bowl looks delicious :9, scared to know the price of one lol. I've never been on a rickshaw, looks fun and interesting. I hope to visit the Tokyo Sky Tree when it's finished constructing.

  8. @ AS:
    The beef bowl costs around 1500 to 3000 Yen, depending on which one you get. Not budget price for sure, but if you want budget fastfood ones there are restaurants like Matsuya and Yoshinoya which you probably have tried before. We decided to come to this one because it was seen in Japanese TV before.

    Didn't see rickshaw tour service last time I've been to Asakusa 4 years ago. Definitely useful if you can find someone who can speak English. I too want to visit the Tokyo Sky Tree once it's finished and open to public!


Be sure to copy long comments to clipboard in case of Internet or server problems