Asakusa has been prospering as a Monzenmachi (temple town) of Sensoji which is the oldest temple in Tokyo. As we stroll along Sumida River in Asakusa area, we will introduce some attractive spots of the town from artistic, designing, and cultural perspectives.
Nakamise is an approach from Kaminarimon to Sensoji, and is famous shopping street for tourists. It is about 250 meters long, and the stores on the both sides are painted with vermillion color. At the end of Nakamise, there is Hozomon (the inner entrance of Sensoji) with Nio statues. Agyo (the open mouth Nio) is standing on the left side, and Ungyo (the closed mouth Nio) is standing on the right side. The lantern to wish prosperity of Kofune Town is also an icon of Hozomon.
In 942, the first son of the Taira no Yoshikane, the military commander Taira no Kinmasa built the main temple and “Gojyunoto” the five-storied pagoda. However, the pagoda collapsed and suffered from a fire several times, but it was rebuilt each time. Other than those famous spots of Sensoji, we also recommend you to see a small waterfall by the main temple as a place for healing.
Asakusa Shrine next to Sensoji was donated by the third shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, and it consists of main shrine, a votive offering hall, and prayer hall. Asakusa Shrine’s Sanja Festival (Tree Shrine Festival) is one of Japan’s representative festivals, with magnificent Mikoshi (mobile shrines) parade. The festival retains the Edo atmosphere, and approximately 800,000 people join over the three days.
Take a walk in Sumida Park along the Sumida River, looking at the Tokyo Sky Tree on the other side of the river.
Walking under Kototoi-bashi (Kototoi Bridge). The bridge was built as one of a project of the reconstruction support plan of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. It was made of a steel structure, and was lowered than the road ground level, in consideration of the scenery of the riverside park.
Cross the Kototoi Bridge to the Tokyo Sky Tree, while looking at the surface of the Sumida River and the rail road bridge over the Sumida River.
The Tokyo Sky Tree is a broadcasting tower opened in 2012. Its design concept is “Simple is Beautiful”, and is inspired by Japanese beauty of the five-storied pagoda. The Tokyo Sky Tree also features commercial facilities including an aquarium and a planetarium. The skyward view of the world highest broadcasting tower is amazing and worth looking at.
Keep going on the riverside walk along the Kitajikken River by the Tokyo Sky Tree to Sumida River. The area has been developing steadily, and Sumida River Walk and Tokyo Mizumachi (Shopping Street) are newly opened. Beyond that area, there is a sluice gate named Genmorigawa Watergate where these two rivers are connected.
Take a walk along the east side of the Sumida River, heading to the boarding point of the Yakata-bune (Japanese style roofed boat). You can have Edo style tempura while enjoying the night view of the Sumida River and Tokyo Bay on the Yakata-bune. You can also take a water-bus to go down the river, and visit Hamarikyu and Odaiba.
The appearance of the Sky Tree reflected on the wall glass the Asahi Breweries headquarters in Azumabashi designed by Philippe Starck would surprise minimalists.
A water bus cruise from Azumabashi is also recommended. At the end of your walk in Asakusa, why not try some Japanese dining Gonpachi’s hand-rolled sushi and a Denki Bran at Kamiya Bar.