Exploring Asakusa: Embrace the Rich Cultural Heritage of Tokyo

Senjoji Temple Asakusa Tokyo

Nestled in northeast Tokyo, Asakusa is a treasure-trove of historical sites and traditional experiences, offering a glimpse into Japan’s rich culture. Recognised as the centre of Tokyo’s shitamachi (old city), Asakusa is full of ancient temples, bustling markets, and captivating festivals waiting to be explored.

Asakusa - Japan - people walking on the road
Image: Tony Joslin

This vibrant district is perfect for a trip to Tokyo that balances big-city fun with more old-school charms, including the iconic Senso-ji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. Asakusa also offers a wealth of foodie haunts, shopping highlights and cultural attractions, with theatres, galleries, and one of Japan’s wildest and most colourful festivals, Sanja Matsuri.

Asakusa - Japan - traditional murals
Image: Tony Joslin

Step back in time and explore the beautifully preserved Edo period (1603-1868) architecture and soak up the nostalgic atmosphere of the Sumida River, home to Japan’s most famous haiku poet, Matsuo Basho, all without leaving the capital.

Ready to dive in? Here’s our guide to the best things to do in Asakusa, Tokyo.

Iconic attractions in Asakusa

Exploring Senso-ji Temple

Asakusa - Japan - kanoon sensoji temple
Image: Tony Joslin

Steeped in tradition, Asakusa is home to one of Tokyo’s most popular attractions: Senso-ji Temple. Built in 645, this Buddhist temple is the oldest in Tokyo, and one of the oldest temples in Japan. Its significance lies in its dedication to the Buddhist god of mercy, Kannon, and the interesting legends that accompany it.

Asakusa - Japan - temple
Image: Tony Joslin

As you wander through the imposing Thunder Gate and along Nakamise-dori Shopping Street, you’ll be transported back in time. Inside the temple grounds, you’ll find the main hall, where you can witness devotees praying and experience the serene atmosphere. Don’t forget to visit the Asakusa Shrine, located just behind the main hall, and make a wish at the purification fountain. The rich history and spiritual significance of the Senso-ji Temple make it a must-visit attraction in Asakusa.

Nakamise-dori Shopping Street – A Shopper’s Paradise

Nakamise-dori Shopping Street

Discover the beauty and creativity of Japanese culture at Nakamise Shopping Street, an integral part of the Asakusa experience (and one of our favourite spots!). Leading up to Senso-ji temple, this vibrant street is lined with charming shops and stalls brimming with gorgeous souvenirs and gems to take home. From beautifully crafted fans and kimonos to Japanese sweets and snacks, you could spend hours getting lost in this magical spot.

Asakusa - Japan - traditional stores exterior
Image: Tony Joslin

If you’re more of a foodie, we’ve got you covered here as well. Get ready to fall in love with the addictive aroma of traditional Japanese snacks like ningyo-yaki (red bean-filled cakes) and senbei (rice crackers), and maybe grab a snack or two to fuel your shopping adventures.

Traditional Japanese cuisine in Asakusa

Food is a highlight of any trip to Japan — and no visit to Asakusa is complete without indulging in the delicious flavours of traditional Japanese cuisine. The neighbourhood is home to numerous restaurants and street food stalls that offer a wide range of traditional Japanese foodie favourites, from sushi and tempura to ramen and yakitori.

Don’t miss the opportunity to sample some of Asakusa’s famous dishes, like tendon (tempura rice bowl) and melon pan bread, chicken karaage at Yukari Asakusa, or grilled freshwater eel at Asakusa Unana. Looking for something a bit more upscale? Book a table for two at Washoku Asakusa, where you can enjoy a delicious sushi plate whilst overlooking the beautiful Sumida River.

Experiencing Asakusa’s festivals and events

One of the best times to visit Asakusa is during its vibrant festivals and events.

Sanja Matsuri

Asakusa - Japan - people worshipping and using incense on a temple
Image: Tony Joslin

Held annually in mid-May to celebrate the founders of the famous Senso-ji Temple, Sanja Matsuri is one of Tokyo’s best festivals. Join the locals as they parade through the streets, carrying portable shrines and performing traditional dances. The atmosphere is electric, filled with the sounds of drums and chants, and the sight of vibrant costumes and elaborate floats.

Asakusa Samba Carnival

Another popular event is the Asakusa Samba Carnival held in September, a lively and energetic parade featuring samba dancers in dazzling costumes. The streets come alive with music, dance, and excitement, drawing thousands of spectators each year. It’s a celebration of culture and diversity that shouldn’t be missed.

Where to stay in Asakusa

Exterior - OMO3 Asakusa by Hoshino Resorts

If you’re searching for accommodation in Asakusa, you cannot go past OMO3 Asakusa. Hoshino Resorts, a prominent hospitality brand in Japan, has recently introduced this new and unique boutique hotel experience, just a minute away from Senso-ji Temple.

Activities _Morning Walk in Asakusa _ - OMO3 Asakusa by Hoshino Resorts

The Deluxe Twin Room is an excellent choice for couples seeking a comfortable yet affordable stay in Asakusa. With a spacious layout of 33 square meters — notably larger than most traditional Tokyo hotel rooms — the room features a modern Japanese aesthetic with traditional futon-style bedding for an immersive local experience. The luxe bonus? A bathtub and plush sofa along with panoramic views into the heart of Tokyo.

For an even more affordable option, the lead-in YOSE Twin Room is a perfect consideration for couples who are happy with a compact base for daily explorations, at 18 square metres.

Guest Room _Deluxe Twin_ - OMO3 Asakusa by Hoshino Resorts

While the hotel doesn’t offer a traditional restaurant, the OMO Food & Drink Station on the 13th floor is the perfect brekkie and snack spot, with around 80 ready-to-eat food options. From western favourites like croissants and muesli to traditional delights like sushi and Japanese baked goods, this 24/7 self-checkout kiosk is the perfect pick-me-up.

For first-time visitors to Tokyo, OMO3 Asakusa offers the perfect support system. From informative map murals and sightseeing ideas dotted throughout the hotel to a choice of local activities, you’ll discover the best things to do in Tokyo and the surrounding area. Our tip? Join the morning temple walk, led by a local hotel guide, to experience the quieter side of Asakusa.

Getting around Tokyo

Tokyo - Japan - crossroad

Whilst walking is a well-loved method of transportation here, it’s no secret that the train systems in Japan are a super-efficient and common way to get around. If you’re looking to base yourselves in Asakusa and venture out to explore some of Tokyo’s most popular neighbourhoods, including Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ginza (to name a few), the rail system will become your best friend.

When you stay at OMO3, the train stations are just a few minutes’ walk away, ready to take you on your wildest Tokyo adventures. Make things even easier by downloading offline maps on your phone, to guide you through the busy Tokyo underground rail stations!

Hidden gems

While Senso-ji Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street are the main attractions of Asakusa, there are so many hidden gems off the beaten path waiting to be discovered. These are some highlights you’ll want to put on you Asakusa travel itinerary.

Kannon-ura

Kannon-ura, an area north of Senso-ji Temple and full of beautifully preserved Edo-era architecture, offers a glimpse into the neighbourhood’s historical past. Take a stroll and admire the traditional wooden buildings and intricately designed facades, along with many local shops, bars, and restaurants.

Sumida River

For a different perspective of Asakusa, head to the banks of the Sumida River. Here, you can enjoy a relaxing boat ride, go for a walk to Tokyo Mizumachi (a new shopping district) or simply sit by the riverside and soak in the gorgeous scenes. Enjoy at least one sunset here, as the Tokyo Skytree, one of the tallest towers in the world, illuminates the skyline for an unmissable end to the day.

Engei Hall

This Asakusa yose theatre is brimming with stories ready to be told through magic, music, acrobatics, and traditional rakugo (comedic storytelling) performances.

Asakusa Hanayashiki

Free your inner child at Japan’s oldest amusement park, Asakusa Hanayashiki (circa 1853) where you can enjoy traditional carnival rides and games and a range of snacks.

Tips for an iconic Asakusa adventure

To make the most of your time in Asakusa, we’ve curated a few of our top tips!

  1. Pack comfortable shoes for days filled with wandering and exploring by foot.
  2. Experience the more popular sites earlier in the day if you want to avoid some of the crowds and enjoy the serenity.
  3. Make sure to sample the local street food amidst your daily adventures.
  4. Embrace local etiquette by thanking respectfully with “arigatou gozaimasu” (pronounced ari-gato-gazai-mas).

Asakusa’s fascinating culture, vibrant historical sites, and charming local atmosphere make it a memorable stop on any trip to Japan. Whether it’s a day-trip inclusion for your Tokyo itinerary or you’re ready to spend a few days exploring, Asakusa is guaranteed to capture your heart with its humble beauty.

To reserve your unforgettable journey to Asakusa and a delightful stay at Omo3 Asakusa head to the hotel’s website.

Planning a trip to Tokyo? Find plenty of romantic ideas in our Tokyo Honeymoon Guide

Scroll to Top