Asakusa (Tokyo Souvenir Paradise)

ImageAsakusa is one of the most touristy areas of Tokyo, and a great place if you’re looking for quintessential Japanese souvenirs- you know, over priced Samurai swords, tea sets, those pretty glazed plates and bowls and sake glasses, candy, decorative cloths in millions of sizes and patterns, wooden dolls, postcards, kimonos, etc.

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Asakusa is most famous for Sensoji, a Buddhist temple dating from the 7th century, and the gate in front of it, Kaminarimon. The most popular shopping street in Asakusa leads straight up to the gate and temple. For those more interested in food than souvenirs, fear not. As in every major touristy part of Japan (that I have been to, at least) the street is swarming with small shops and street vendors purveying various Japanese sweets and snacks. I got a melon flavored kakigori (shaved ice) and a pastry filled with custard…you can also get the pastries billed with sweet red bean paste (anko).

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Definitely a good place to stop if you aren’t templed and souvenir shopped out. It’s also an easy twenty minute walk from the Tokyo Sky Tree, so it’s conveniently located if you’re doing a day of sightseeing in Tokyo.

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Here’s a nice little guide, in English, with a map, if you’ll be visiting or want to learn more about Asakusa: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3004.html

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