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Updated: April 2, 2018
Home to Sensoji Temple and lively shopping streets, Asakusa began as an entertainment area with Tokyo's oldest geisha district. Visitors from all over Japan flock to the famous Thunder Gate and Nakamise Shopping Street for delicious snacks and traditional souvenirs.
With trains arriving on the Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line and Tobu Skytree Line, navigating the station can be tricky, so follow the signs carefully. Look for exits marked "Kaminarimon" for the temple district. The station's Ekimise shopping center has restaurants and souvenir shops.
Staffed by multilingual volunteers, the contemporary wooden structure is a destination in itself. Check out the regular exhibitions and cultural activities and enjoy spectacular views from the top floor. The center has a café, rest area and toilets.
Just across the road from the tourist information center, this imposing red gate with its giant lantern, marks the entrance to the temple area. The name of the gate is painted on the enormous red lantern hanging in its center, with the fierce gods of wind and thunder standing guard; it's a favorite photo spot.
The main street leading to Sensoji Temple is a bustling thoroughfare, lined with traditional craft and souvenir shops. You'll find everything from kimono accessories to kids' ninja costumes and plastic sushi, along with tempting fresh rice crackers and sweets. Try agemanju, a fried dumpling filled with sweet bean paste.
Tokyo's oldest temple enshrines Kannon, the merciful nirvana achiever, whose serene golden statue presides over prayers. Burn some incense to heal what ails you and discover your future by buying an omikuji. Shake a numbered stick from the canister, find the corresponding numbered draw and reveal your fortune, which comes with an English translation.
Veer left in front of Sensoji Temple, and you'll come to a street lined with restaurants and theaters. In the Richmond Hotel, the lower four floors are designed to help visitors experience traditional culture, with fine crafts from around Japan, exhibitions, authentic restaurants and regular workshops.
From plastic food samples to professional knives, this street attracts top chefs and enthusiasts. Most stores specialize in a single aspect of food preparation, such as pots and pans, utensils or coffee machines. Try making your own realistic wax food samples or relax in one of the area's excellent cafés.