Asakusa is a part of Tokyo’s downtown Taito district best known for its many temples and shrines.
Sensōji (also known as Asakusa Kannon) is Tokyo’s largest Buddhist temple and a major attraction for local Japanese and foreign tourists.
The Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) was first built in 942, the gate has been destroyed numerous times and the current incarnation dates to only 1950.
The always busy Nakamise shopping arcade leading up to the temple starts after the gate. This is one of the best places in Tokyo to buy souvenirs.
At the end of the arcade is the main gate called Hōzōmon, notable for a giant straw sandal (waraji) hung up on one side. This gate is guarded by ferocious guardian gods.
The Kannondō (Kannon Hall) is behind the gate, which is currently under renovation. According to legend, the hall was originally built in 628 to house a statue of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, fished out of the Sumida River by two brothers.
To the west is the Gojūnoto (5-Story Pagoda), reputedly containing some of the ashes of the Buddha.
Asakusa Jinja can be found to the east behind the temple, a quiet and plain Shinto shrine devoted to protecting the Buddhist temple in a typically Japanese arrangement.
Nearby, the Chingodo Shrine is dedicated to the Japanese raccoon dog tanuki, notably primarily for its big flask of sake and gigantic testicles.
Around the area, you will find many different covered and outdoor shopping areas and streets.
Sightseeing tours by rickshaw is popular in Asakusa with the charge starting from 13,000 yen (about $110) for two people.
The Sumida River runs along Asakusa …
… where you will find the distinct landmark Asahi headquarters building.