Asakusa is a wonderfully quaint and traditional area in the modern city of Tokyo which should be on any short list of places to go during a stay in this amazing city. Here are a few of the highlights you will most likely want to make sure you explore while you are in Asakusa.
Have you ever imagined that there could be an ancient Japanese temple in a bustling modern metropolis like Tokyo? There is one temple which should be number one on your list when visiting Tokyo and it in the area known as Asakusa. You have more than likely seen a photo of the entrance to the temple at some point as its gigantic red lantern with black calligraphy hanging from a regal gold ring is a rather iconic and picturesque sight photographed by many. The temple is large and amazing, so make sure you explore its wonders. As it is essentially the centerpiece of Asakusa, you will find lots of delicious food and shopping around it. If you want traditional Japan in the midst of Tokyo, Sensoji is the place to go.
The Asahi building is something you can easily see near the gate to Sensoji. Simply start walking toward the river and you will eventually see a rather spectacular and unique piece of modern art as architecture.
The Asahi brewing company, makers of Japanese beer among other beverages, has a headquarters in what essentially appears to be a rather gigantic black rectangular glass of golden beer with a rather large and exaggerated frothy golden head to top it.
The controversy is in a rather unique custom in Japan where something called “Unchi” is lucky when it is golden. You will likely see stickers and small golden statues of unchi for good luck in many shops. Unchi in English is rather shockingly something that a dog owner may be scooping up after their puppy during a walk, so the Asahi building is occasionally called the Golden Unchi building or the Golden Turd. Talk about extreme architecture. One can hardly cease to be surprised by it no matter how many times it is seen.
Tokyo’s legendary Sumo Stadium is also in the general area so it can easily be a part of the same day’s adventurous activities. Sumo, as you may or may not know, is an ancient traditional Japanese sport involving two rather scantily clad and obese men in a circular ring. The object is essentially for one of the men to get a portion of the other man’s body to touch the ground out of the ring. There is a lot of excitement and a lot of gambling involved so people truly get into sumo and enjoy sumo tournaments throughout the year. The stadium is a great place to see sumo in action and also learn more about this amazingly unique form of sporting entertainment. There is truly nothing like sumo, and the stadium is worth a visit.
Prior to being called Tokyo, the capital city was known as Edo. In the Edo period, the city was an amazingly wonderful place and a shining example today of the high quality of life possible in a sustainable way without any electricity or plastic.
A visit to the Edo Museum near the Asakusa area is a great way to get to know more about how people may have lived during this period in Japanese history. The building itself is yet another piece of marvelous modern architecture, completely contrary to the museum it houses.
Be assured that regardless of the futuristic exterior, traditional Japan is waiting inside. There are many exhibits including suits of Samurai armor, models of the city, photography, art prints, tools, and even a small Edo-style house to explore. It is truly a proper and thorough example of Japanese culture at a really magical point in history!
Have fun in Asakusa as it is a wonderful area full of traditional Japanese attractions, and some modern surprises too.