|This post is written by Randy|
Tokyo is the capital city of Japan and a city that has a unique cultural combination, since you could find a trendy and up-to-date side of Japan in the places like Shibuya, Harajuku, or Shinjuku, yet, you could still find yourself in an area that still preserve the traditional taste of Japan. The most famous area in Tokyo where you could find the taste of the traditional Japanese life is in Asakusa. Lots of shrines, the restaurants, the people, and even the neighbourhood, would make yourself feel that you are not in the same dimension with the other jazzy and fabulous areas in Tokyo. Therefore, for those who want to take a little break from the ever-changing Tokyo, going to Asakusa could be one of the solution for you.
When I was in Japan, this year, I home stayed in Asakusa in Taitoo district for 15 days. Actually, it was such a short time to feel the taste of living as a Tokyoites, but I did all my best not to waste the chance. Asakusa is located in the north part of Tokyo. Asakusa itself is really different from the other part of Tokyo you might know very well, such as Shibuya, Harajuku, Akihabara, or etc. However, Asakusa’s traditional characteristic also become it’s own appeal to us.
One of the thing that you surely will notice if you are in Asakusa is that there aren’t so many youngsters as you can find in Shibuya, Harajuku, Akihabara, or cool places like those. However, it’s not something that make Asakusa become less charming than those cool areas, instead you can find the peace that you obviously won’t find in the youngsters filled areas. In Asakusa neighbourhood, you could find some traditional markets where the people in Asakusa always buy their daily need in this place. The markets usually looks like a long narrow street that has a ceiling just like on the pictures below.
Oh yeah, when you’re around the Asakusa area you will find lots of people riding their bicycle. Don’t be surprised when you often see that there are lots of ojiisan (grandfather) or obaasan (grandmother) who are still riding their own bicycle, even in their 60’s or 70’s. That’s the Japanese independence that is unrelated with age.
In this Asakusa area you can walk peacefully without afraid to bump with the other pedestrians in the daytime or in the nighttime, except in Senso-ji since it’s always filled with lots of people in the holiday period.
Anyway, if you’ve ever heard about the name of Asakusa, you might as well hear about Senso-ji, a Buddhist temple that located in Asakusa. For those who have any intention to go to Japan or who are going to Japan, Senso-ji is a must visit place in Tokyo.
There are lots of things you can do there, such as send your wish to Buddha in front of the Buddha statue, get a fortune-telling, shopping in a traditional market Nakamise-doori located on the way to the Senso-ji, wash yourself with sacred water to bring you lots of luck, and ever get on a traditional Japanese jinrikisha, driven by a man wearing the Japanese traditional clothing. In front of the temple, you can find that there’s something used to put the incense. Usually, there will be a lot of people stand in front of it to inhale the smoke from those burning incense, it’s also believed it would bring you luck.
In Asakusa you can find a famous river in Japan as well. The name is Sumida-gawa or Sumida river. What made it became famous is that in every year there’s always a hanabi festival or big firework festival on that river. Surely, the hanabi that’s held on the Sumida-gawa is one of the biggest hanabi that you can find in the summer season in Japan. Usually, the hanabi on the Sumida river is held on the last Saturday of July, so be sure not to miss it like me when you go to Japan. Another good things is you could also take a cruise here to watch the beauty of the Sumida-gawa while also seeing the pack of giants building along the way. The cruise travel across the Tokyo Bay to the amazing artificial island of Odaiba, where the well-known rainbow bridge is located.
One of the thing that you mustn’t forget when you’re in Asakusa is to visit Tokyo Sky Tree that’s located near the Sumida-gawa! It’s a giant tower that you would not miss it for sure, since you could see it from almost every spot in Asakusa. Tokyo Sky Tree that’s completed on 29 February 2012 became the tallest tower in the world now.
Nowadays, Tokyo Sky Tree is the most famous sight-seeing spot and tourist destination in Tokyo. In the Tokyo Sky Tree, you would not only find that giant size tower because there are also a department store, named Solamachi, on the bottom of Tokyo Sky Tree, a planetarium, an aquarium, Tokyo Sky Tree East Tower, and Tokyo Sky Tree Town. Therefore, it makes you have lots of options for you to choose what are you going to do in that Tokyo Sky Tree neighbourhood also make Tokyo Sky Tree become the ultimate vacation area for you and your family.
For the Asakusa neighbours, Tokyo Sky Tree has a deeper meaning than just an ordinary tower. Tokyo Sky Tree become some sort of new pride since, for now, Tokyo Sky Tree is the tallest structure tower in the whole world. Moreover, the existence of Tokyo Sky Tree in the Asakusa area also raises the spirits of the neighbours there, especially in the matter of business, since now Asakusa become the number one tourist destination, both for the national tourist or the international tourist, in Japan.
In Asakusa, though you wouldn’t find the dazzling and ever-changing things as you could find in the other area of Tokyo, you still would get lots of valuable things where you couldn’t get in those crowded and trendy area of Tokyo. Even for the youngsters, Asakusa still have to be put on your destination list because in this very Asakusa you would experience the atmosphere of the traditional Japanese life that has long been gone…
The Sensoji Temple and Tokyo Sky Tree would be covered more on the later post, each on an independent post. So stay tune guys! :)
External Links :
Tokyo Sky Tree : http://www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en/
The picture of the front gate of the Sensoji used on this post is taken from : http://www.asakusa-samurai.com/photos/kaminarimon-2.jpg