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Asakusa retains the old atmosphere of Edo. Although most of the buildings are actually quite new (this part was heavily bombed during World War II) the low-rise buildings evoke a time long gone. This is very much the heart of traditional Tokyo, most famous as home to the Buddhist temple Senso-ji (aka Akasuka Kannon-do) - pictured below right.

Asakusa was actually the centre of Edo’s Shitamachi, the crowded area the Tokugawa shogunate designated for merchants, entertainers, apprentices and traders. Although the area was a actually too small for the number of inhabitants, it developed into a very pleasant quarter, the inhabitants certainly new how to enjoy themselves. Today stalls around the temple still sell all manner of trinkets and crafts and the carnival atmosphere of the area is extremely infectious.

The area is mainly known for its shops in the Nakamise area (good kimonos and other traditional crafts), its many temples and shrines and the famous Kaminarimon Gate, with the red lantern. All Japanese have their picture taken with this lantern.

Asakusa is easily reached by boat from Hama Rikyu Garden or Hinode Pier at Hamamtsucho. The boats cruise up the Sumida (above) river every 40 minutes. To go by subway you take the Ginza line and get off at Asakusa station.




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