Asakusa is likely to be one of the top sightseeing areas suggested by your guidebook. It’s happily stuck in an older age of Tokyo and a lovely place to see some traditional Japanese culture, especially if you don’t have the time for a trip over to Kyoto. Nakamise Dori is the main pedestrian street that leads up to the Buddhist temple of Senso-ji and is lined with stalls selling traditional crafts, souvenirs and snacks.
For the crafty shopper, it’s a great place to pick up some washi and other traditional paper goods. The stalls along Nakamise Dori sell washi paper packs, cards and origami but serious fans should check out Kurodaya, the washi shop at the top of Nakamise Dori.
It has beautiful window displays of lacquerware and papercrafts and inside you’ll find everything that can possibly be made from paper, plus hundreds of sheets of washi and chiyogami printed paper. Prices are not that cheap since it’s a tourist area but there are beautiful things here that are worth a splurge if your pocket can take it.
The rest of Nakamise Dori is a warren of tiny shops, with many selling similar things including Japanese fabric purses, lucky cats, hair accessories, and all manner of adorable little charms. You’ll also find stalls with packaged rice crackers and other traditional snacks so it’s a good place to visit near the end of your trip to grab some last minute souvenirs and gifts.
How to get there
Nakamise Dori is very close to the Asakusa subway station which connects with JR lines at Ueno. You can also take a boat up the Sumida River which takes about 40 minutes with stops at Asakusa, Hamarikyu Garden or Odaiba.
Last updated: 24 August 2016