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2018年05月11日

Traditional Asakusa

by Veronika 239

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Asakusa is one of the most popular tourist
destinations in Tokyo, with a great number
of shrines and temples, and traditional
Japanese restaurants serving delicious
sushi or soba noodles. The biggest attraction
in the area is of course Kaminarimon - the
"Thunder Gate". However, you can also find
an old soba noodle store opened in 1870, a
bar that is 100 years old, and many other
shops with long histories. This article will
guide you through the old shops of Asakusa.

Recommended route:
Asakusa Station (Exit 1) →
Owariya → Maiduru →
Senso-ji Kaminarimon →
Nakamise Shopping Street →
Asakusa Samboa → Asakusa Station

Distance: 2.6 km
Time: 32 min + meals, sightseeing
Budget: 3,000 - 4,000 yen

1. Taste some delicious soba noodles in a store
open since 1870!

As you leave the Asakusa station, head through
the crowds of people and begin your journey
from "Matsuya Asakusa" shop.

There are many tourists taking pictures,
we particularly recommend Azuma bridge as
a nice photo spot. You can see beautiful flowers
planted along the way, making your walk even
more colorful and exciting.
When you reach Asakusa, before going for
lunch be sure to take in the signature view.
Just 30 seconds from "Matsuya Asakusa" there
is the Azuma bridge, from which you can see
the famous Asahi Beer headquarters shaped
like a beer pint, and the Sky Tree. Both of
these views are landmarks of the city.
After taking plenty of pictures, head on over to
the soba noodles shop "Owariya". You will reach
it by going down the Kaminarimon Street for
about 5 minutes. The store was opened in
1870, and has been a beloved place for almost
150 years!

Left - the entrance to "Owariya". The wooden
 sliding door looks good when paired with the
short curtain - noren.

We recommend getting Joten Seiro (Heaven
Soba Tray) for 1,600 yen. The huge shrimp
tempura included in the dish is so big, that it
does not fit well into a picture. The shrimp is
fried in a home-made sesame oil.
Soba noodles served here are made from the
highest quality Japanese ingredients. You can
enjoy the dish both by eating the noodles and
tempura separately, or dipping them in tsuyu
sauce and savoring the mixed taste of the two.
The atmosphere of the old store is relaxed
and quiet, so it is great even for solo travelers!

Owariya
1-7-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku Tokyo
03-3845-4500
Open 11:30~20:30
Closed on Fridays
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1311/A131102/13003714/

2. Meeting the cuteness culture of Japan.
After filling your stomach with delicious food,
go towards Kaminarimon Ichome crossing.
There you will find the food sample store
"Maiduru". As you walk into the store, you are
greeted into the dreamland.
The colorful samples look like toys in boxes.

They look so real, that you might be tempted to
actually eat them!

You can find samples of cakes and ice cream,
Japanese sweets, ramen noodles, egg rice,
pasta noodles and many more, even some
made into smartphone cases! As you look
through all of the samples in the store, you
will become so engrossed, that you might
not even notice the passage of time.
Attention to detail is amazing, as these plastic
samples look exactly like the real thing.
Recently, they became popular as souvenirs,
not only as an important part of restaurant
business, particularly among the foreign
visitors, as these samples are seen as a part
of Japanese "kawaii" culture.
The staff is very kind and willing to answer any
questions, encouraging people to spend as
much time as they need in this amazing store.

Maiduru
1-5-17 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito-ku Tokyo
03-3843-1686
Open 9:00~18:00
http://www.maiduru.co.jp/

3. Take a picture in front of the symbol of
Asakusa - the Thunder Gate!

You can see many people taking pictures in
front of the gate.
Use rickshaw service to guide you around
the area (http://welcomejapan.jp/ginza_en/culture/jinrikisya/)

When people think of Asakusa, they think of
the Thunder Gate. It is one of the most popular
attractions in Tokyo, so it is always crowded.
You can see a huge red lantern with
Kaminarimon written in Japanese characters.
The Thunder Gate is the main entrance to the
Senso-ji temple and is actually called
"Furaijinmon" (The gate for gods of thunder
and wind). You can see the thunder and wind
gods positioned on both sides of the gate.
As the name of thunder and wind gods
suggests, this temple was built for gods
controlling the storms. These gods can help
prevent disasters connected to strong winds
and rain. These gods apparently are also
responsible for the harvest.
The more you know about the temple and the
gate itself, the more meaningful and fun your
pictures become.

Senso-ji Thunder Gate
2-3-1 Higashi-Asakusa, Taito-ku Tokyo
03-3842-0181
http://www.senso-ji.jp/guide/guide01.html

4. Do some shopping in the Nakamise
Shopping Street!

Left - girls in modern kimonos with vivid colors
and big flower patterns.
Right - There are always crowds of people in
the area, making it very lively!

After leaving Kaminarimon, head towards
Nakamise Shopping Street. You can see quite a
few people wearing traditional Japanese
clothes, both foreigners and Japanese. You can
rent out a kimono in a nearby rental shop, or
just take a picture with one of the people
wearing it on the street, if they are willing.

There are so many shops on the Nakamise
Shopping Street! You can find sweets and
snacks shaped like the Thunder gate lantern,
or just get a small souvenir like a key-chain
representing Asakusa.
Many friendly shop owners call out from their
stores trying to get the attention of the
shoppers. Their energy is sure to put you in a
good mood.
As you go further down the street, you will see
a big incense burner. It is said, that if you
bathe in the smoke, your wounds will heal
faster and you will feel better. The real purpose
of the incense is to cleanse yourself before
praying at the temple.

Bathe in the smoke from head to toes.

Nakamise Shopping Street
1-36-3 Asakusa, Taito-ku Tokyo
03-3844-3350
Open 10:00~17:00
http://asakusa-nakamise.jp/e-index.html

5. End your day at a 100-year-old bar.
After enjoying Asakusa for the whole day,
end your trip with a nice drink. For a relaxed
evening, head to "Asakusa Samboa" before
going back home.

Left - the outside of "Asakusa Samboa" looks
like something from a novel.
Right - there are many drinks available in this
bar, and the bottles are very beautiful.

The bar "Asakusa Samboa" turns 100 this year!
The outside of the store hidden in the greenery
looks somewhat mysterious and fairytale-like.
Inside, the slightly dimmed lights provide a nice
ambiance. The bartender is friendly and
welcomes you with a nice voice.

The coasters with Samboa logo and checkered
tablecloths look very nice!

We recommend ordering the most popular
drink - Highball without ice (1,400 yen). The
bubbles inside the drink float upwards one
after the other making a pleasant sound.
The color of the drink is rich gold.
If you are wondering why this drink is served
without ice, it is actually traditional technique of
"Asakusa Samboa". When the bar was opened,
ice was used in the fridge to help keep food
cold, not to cool drinks.
Additionally, the price of ice was much higher
100 years ago, so whiskey was served either
straight or mixed with carbonated water. This
tradition is still kept alive in this historical bar.
Hidden away from the outside noise, this bar is
a perfect hiding place for adults. Spend some
relaxed time in the quiet of the shop before
heading home.

Asakusa Samboa
1-16-/ Asakusa, Taito-ku Tokyo
03-6231-7994
Open 14:00~23:00
Closed on Wednesdays
http://www.samboa.co.jp/index.html

*****

Asakusa is a place where history and modernity
walk hand in hand. You can find many shops
around this are which have been around for
many years, and also new and modern sights,
like the famous Sky Tree, or girls wearing
traditional kimonos with modern patterns. Be
sure to explore this city for more examples of
modernity coexisting with tradition!

More about the region:
http://wjsmagazine.com/list/c10/675/

Map


Original article in Japanese:
https://sanporge.com/asakusa-old/

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