Asakusa, a historic neighborhood located in Tokyo, is a popular tourist destination known for its unique blend of traditional and modern cultures. The area is home to several important cultural landmarks, including the iconic Sensoji Temple and its imposing Kaminarimon Gate.
The district of Asakusa and the Sensoji Temple are closely linked, they even share the same name in both Chinese and Japanese. The name "Asakusa" is the Japanese pronunciation, while "Senso" is the Chinese pronunciation. Both names are written using the same Chinese characters 浅草, which mean "shallow grass".
Visitors to Asakusa will find themselves transported back in time to the Edo period, with its narrow alleyways, street-side vendors selling traditional snacks like taiyaki, and the sound of clanging temple bells in the background. Whether you're a first-timer to Japan or a seasoned traveler, there is plenty to see and do in Asakusa, Japan. Here is our list of the top 20 things to do in Asakusa, with insider tips and hidden gems to make your trip unforgettable.
20 Best Things To Do in Asakusa, Tokyo
This list includes a variety of activities and experiences, from visiting historical and cultural sites to trying traditional foods and participating in traditional activities. With our insider tips, you'll be sure to make the most of your trip to Asakusa and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.
- Visit the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
- Visit the historic Senso-ji Temple
- Explore the vibrant Nakamise shopping street
- Stroll along the Sumida River
- Take a cooking class
- Visit the Kappabashi Kitchenware Street
- Experience a Japanese tea ceremony
- Check out the Edo-Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Hall
- Visit the nearby Skytree Tower
- Rent a kimono
- Visit the Sumida Hokusai Museum
- Watch street performers on Rokku Broadway
- Try street food and/or traditional cafe
- Join a guided food tour
- Take a Japanese rickshaw ride
- Visit the Asakusa Geisha District
- Enjoy a river cruise on a yakatabune boat
- Learn something new
- Enjoy a night out in the area
- Attend a Japanese performance
Bonus: Try gold-leaf ice cream—one of Tokyo's viral foods!
1. Visit the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
Start your visit here. The Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center is a great place to learn about the local history and culture of Asakusa. You can find information about the local sights, cultural events, and historical crafts. Their free walking tours are a great way to see the area on foot!
Pro-Tip: Stop by the center for a map, free Wifi, and great views of the city.
2. Visit the historic Senso-ji Temple
Senso-ji is the oldest and most famous temple in Tokyo, located in the heart of Asakusa and at the top of every tourist's list of things to do in Asakusa. This iconic temple is a must-visit for any first-timer to Asakusa, as it offers a glimpse into age-old Japanese culture and religion. Pro-Tip: Be sure to visit the temple early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid crowds.
Super pro-tip: Head to Asakusa Shrine instead, as it is less crowded than the Senso-ji temple, making it a great place to experience traditional Japanese culture without the crowds.
3. Explore the vibrant Nakamise shopping street
Nakamise is a lively shopping street lined with long-established shops and food stalls. You can find everything from conventional Japanese souvenirs and crafts to delicious street food here.
Pro-Tip: Be sure to bring cash as some of the smaller shops may not accept card payments
4. Enjoy the view along the Sumida River
The Sumida River offers stunning views of the city skyline and is a popular spot for a leisurely walk or bike tour. There is also a water-bus service that operates along the Sumida River, offering passengers a scenic view of the city and its landmarks, including the Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Tower. It is a regular passenger service and operates throughout the day.
Pro-Tip: Book a seat on the left side of the boat for the best views of the Tokyo Skytree.
5. Take a cooking class
Learn to make standard Japanese dishes with local chefs, such as sushi, tempura, and miso soup. How about this make-your-own ramen and gyoza class? Say sayonara to cup noodles!
Pro-tip: Try to find a class that includes a visit to the local markets for a true cultural experience.
6. Visit the Kappabashi Kitchenware Street
Kappabashi Kitchenware Street is a shopping street specializing in high-quality kitchen gadgets and cookware. Here, you can find everything from old-fashioned Japanese kitchen knives to quirky and fun kitchen gadgets. Why not take a cooking class and bring some new recipes back home with you?
Pro-Tip: To get the most out of your visit to Kappabashi Dori, consider starting early in the morning when the shops first open. This way, you can avoid crowds and have the best selection of goods.
7. Experience a Japanese tea ceremony
A Japanese tea ceremony is a must-do for any first-timer to Asakusa. These ceremonies are typically performed in a traditional tea house and offer a glimpse into timeless Japanese culture and etiquette.
Pro-Tip: Book a tea ceremony with an English-speaking host for a more immersive and educational experience. Also, wear pants so that you can sit comfortably and easily.
8. Check out the Edo-Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Hall
Edo-Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Hall is a museum dedicated to showcasing the traditional arts and crafts of Asakusa. Visitors can learn about the history and techniques behind these crafts, as well as participate in workshops to create their own souvenirs. Some of the available workshops include woodblock printing, origami, and calligraphy.
Pro tip: Book your workshop in advance to ensure availability.
9. Visit the nearby Tokyo Skytree
Enjoy panoramic views of the city from Tokyo Skytree. It offers a great perspective on the city and is a recommended place to take photos. Do it for the ‘Gram!
Pro tip: Make sure to check if any special exhibitions or events are happening at the tower, as they often offer an amazing experience (and possible discounts!).
10. Rent a kimono
In Asakusa, several shops offer kimono rental services for tourists to experience the traditional Japanese culture. These shops usually offer a wide range of kimono styles, from conventional to modern, as well as accessories such as obi (sash) and hair ornaments. Some shops also offer hair styling and makeup services, so visitors can complete the full look.
Pro-tip: Compare rental fees and what is included, such as shoes and accessories before making a booking.
11. Visit the Sumida Hokusai Museum
Learn about the famous Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai, and his works at this museum located in the Sumida district. You’ll get a chance to see some of his most famous pieces, such as The Wave, and other woodblock prints, and learn about his life and legacy.
Pro tip: Consider visiting the museum on a weekday, as weekends can be very busy. Take your time exploring the exhibits and don’t be afraid to ask the staff questions.
12. Watch street performers on Rokku Broadway
Rokku Broadway is a popular street in Asakusa that is known for its street performers, who put on a variety of shows and musical acts in the evenings and on weekends. You can expect to see a variety of street performances ranging from Japanese art forms like taiko drumming, comedic skits, acrobatics, magic tricks, and more. Feel free to tip here!
Pro tip: Arrive early to secure a good spot and bring a small cushion or mat to sit on while you enjoy the show.
13. Try street food and/or a traditional cafe
Traditional mochi and dango, fried menchi (minced meat) croquets, and fluffy melon-pan are just the start of the amazing street food available in Asakusa! But if you'd like a chance to sit and relax, Asakusa is also home to many traditional cafes and tea houses. You can enjoy desserts like anmitsu, or kakigori (shaved ice) on hot summer days.
There are even good options for vegetarians and vegans! Join a Vegan Food Tour in Asakusa to try the best plant-based goodies in the neighborhood.
Pro tip: The cafes by Senso-ji can be very busy, so wander further away from the temple for less crowded cafes.
14. Join a Guided Food Tour
Food tours are a great way to experience the local cuisine of Asakusa. This Senso-ji and Asakusa food tour is family-friendly. Yay for having the kids along but boo for having to share your food. If you're a foodie, you should try some of the local street food such as takoyaki (octopus balls), yakisoba (stir-fried noodles), the Asakusa-specialty monjayaki (savory pancake), and taiyaki (fish-shaped waffles filled with sweet bean paste).
Pro-tip: If you're on a budget, consider taking a food tour during lunchtime when prices are generally lower.
15. Take a Japanese rickshaw ride
A rickshaw ride through the Asakusa streets is a must-do for any first-timer to the area. This mode of transportation allows you to see the sights of Asakusa in a fun and quirky way. Although the buff drivers might be distracting to some. Me, I meant me.
Pro-Tip: If you want to make the most of your rickshaw experience, consider booking a private tour. This way, you can customize your route and spend as much time as you like at each location.
16. Visit the Asakusa Geisha District
See geisha performances in the Asakusa Geisha District. Make your memoirs of a geisha, hehe. These performances are a rare and fascinating glimpse into an enduring Japanese cultural heritage.
Pro-Tip: Try to attend a performance in the evening, as the atmosphere is typically more historical then.
17. Enjoy a river cruise on a yakatabune boat
What to do in Asakusa at night? Enjoy a river cruise on a yakatabune boat. The boat is decorated in a Japanese style and often features tatami mats, low tables, and a noren curtain. These boats typically offer delicious Japanese cuisine and scenic views of the city skyline. The nighttime lights add a different and beautiful dimension to the views of Tokyo's skyline.
18. Learn a traditional craft
Sign up for one of the many classes in the area such as sake brewing or candy-making. The Asakusa Sake Brewery lets you learn about the process and even sample some of its products. Join one of the plastic-food model classes offered by sweet shops in the area. Take home a special souvenir from your trip to Asakusa with a plastic model replica of something you ate! Why not learn to make something edible, like in this candy sculpting class?
Pro tip: Be sure to book your class in advance, as some classes fill up quickly.
19. Enjoy a night out in the area
Experience Japanese bar culture and try some of the local drinks and snacks. Try Hoppy beer, a leftover brew from World War 2, on Hoppy street to start your night.
Pro tip: If you’re not familiar with the local bar culture, consider asking for recommendations from locals or your hotel staff. Or join a guided bar-hopping tour. If you see us behind you, say nothing.
20. Attend a Japanese performance
Asakusa is home to several Japanese theaters, such as the Asakusa Engei Hall and the Asakusa Public Hall. These theaters host performances such as rakugo (traditional Japanese comic storytelling), bunraku (Japanese puppet theater), and kabuki (a classical Japanese dance-drama). The performances offer a look into the history and traditions of Japan. Put this at the top of your things-to-do-in-Asakusa list!
Pro tip: Some of these may be conducted in Japanese only but don’t let that stop you! Check the schedule in advance to find multilingual options.
If you aren’t already planning your Asakusa trip, what are you waiting for? You can access Asakusa station by subway and start exploring this wonderful area straight away. From visiting the Sensō-ji Temple, strolling down Nakamise Shopping Street, and cruising the Sumida River, to experiencing a rickshaw ride and traditional Japanese performances, there is something for everyone in Asakusa. It's a great place to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and learn about the history and customs of the area. Asakusa is waiting for you!