A Day in Asakusa

Erica Faucher Headshot
Erica Faucher
June 23, 2024
On a bright blue day stands the Five Story Pagoda at Senso-ji.

Asakusa is a wonderful city to visit in Japan. There are shopping streets, Tokyo Skytree, and many shrines. There’s a lot of history there and it is a great place to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. It’s a great day trip, but you could really spend multiple days exploring all there is to do! I spent a Sunday in Asakusa, and here is everything I did! 

On the day I went to Asakusa, there was a small festival celebrating hydrangeas at the Chokoku-ji temple. There were a hundred types of hydrangeas from all over Japan on display, as well as some stands selling traditional Japanese hand fans. At the temple, you could get a fortune for a few hundred yen, so I picked a money fortune! The paper was golden on the outside and came with a little golden charm for good luck. My fortune said, “maximum money luck,” and gave some tips to “improve financial luck,” such as to take a relaxing bath to relieve fatigue, or to use a dream diary to keep track of hints in dreams about financial luck. If you ever get a bad fortune at a shrine or temple, make sure to tie it to one of the wooden posts (you’ll see them there) to leave your bad luck behind! 

I also visited Senso-ji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. The temple has different buildings to visit, including the main hall, a five-story pagoda, and the Kaminarimon Gate. This is the main entrance gate to the temple! You can also buy omamaori, which are amulets with special properties. Some will give protection, provide good luck with studies, or give general good luck. There are many types of omamori, and if you visit different shrines and temples, you can find ones with a variety of designs. Some can even provide protection while driving! They make great souvenirs and are also a good way to remember your visit to the temple. 

Right by Senso-ji is Nakamise Shopping Street, which is the oldest shopping street in Tokyo. This is a great place to look for souvenirs, buy snacks, or find some unique things to bring back home! Some shops that stood out to me sold chopsticks and chopstick holders, Japanese hand fans, kanzashi (Japanese hair ornaments), and cute keychains. If you decide to visit Asakusa, don’t miss Nakamise Street!

By the Senso-ji and Nakamise Street area, there was also a street with many food stands. I tried many snacks: a chocolate covered banana, tanghulu (candy coated fruit), and a sausage on a stick. My friends had kakigori, which is shaved ice with fruit syrup, and is very popular. Other snacks I saw were pineapple on a stick, Takoyaki (Japanese octopus balls), grilled beef and pork, and grilled fish. I had always wanted to enjoy Japanese street food, and it was definitely something I’m glad I got to do! 

Not too far from the Senso-ji area were more shopping streets. These were lined with shops and restaurants, and some dog cafes. I stopped at Inu Café Rio, a cute little café with many small, fluffy puppies! At this café you don’t need a reservation, and instead pay after you are done with your visit. There’s a fee of about 220 yen for every 10 minutes, which includes a drink, such as juice or coffee. When you enter the room with the dogs, you must put on the indoor slippers that the café provides. You can sit on the floor, or on a low chair or bench, where the dogs will walk right up to you! They will especially give you attention if you give them food. If you decide not to buy the café’s dog treats, the dogs may be less interested in hanging out with you. But luckily, the staff were very kind, and wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to spend time with the puppies. So, they gave me a small blanket and encouraged one of the puppies to sit on my lap. She was very cute, and she fell asleep while I was petting her. I had a great experience at this café, and I recommend visiting it if you love dogs! 

After the café, I walked around to look at more of the shops. I have always wanted to buy a kimono, so I explored an affordable kimono shop. After browsing through all of the different designs, I finally settled on a purple one covered in white Sakura flowers. The woman at the shop helped me put it on, along with the obi (the thick sash that is tied into a bow at the waist). I also purchased the special socks for wearing zori, the traditional sandals worn with a kimono. I was able to find a zori shop nearby so I could get the shoes to match! The staff at the shops were very kind and were able to help me, even though I can only speak a little Japanese. 

I hope my blog inspires you to visit Asakusa! There’s so much to do, from experiencing Japanese culture at the shrines, or petting dogs at a café. If you’d like, you can purchase your own kimono too (or you can rent one). I hope you have as much fun as I did! 

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Erica Faucher Headshot

Erica Faucher

My name is Erica Faucher, and I am a junior Medical Microbiology major! I love bacteria and mold, but also languages. I am very excited to be studying Japanese officially in Japan! 

2024 Summer 1
Home University:
University of New Hampshire
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