Asakusa has long been considered the heart of old Shitamach : this Tokyo district is a compact and interesting place to explore on foot and it is very famous because there are many temples, as well as various festivals.
Its main attraction is Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the Bodhisattva Kannonand it is also know as Asakusa Kannon-Do.
In the Edo period, Asakusa was in the middle between the city and its infamous red light district, Yoshiwara.
Over time, then, the whole area become a district devoted to pleasure, eventually becoming the center of the most popular form of entertainment of that time, the kabuki theater, but also plenty of brothels.
When the Meiji Restoration stopped the isolationist policy of Japan, it was in Asakusa that had been inaugurated the first movie theaters, there was the first music hall and in the Teikkoku Gekijo (Imperial Theatre), were presented to the public the first japanese works of the western opera tradition. Also here there was introduced another typical element of western culture : the strip shows.
Asakusa is always full of tourists and the market offers kitsch products and not at good prices.
But if you are in Tokyo, a trip to Asakusa is certainly not bad, because in a couple of hours you will see everything there is to see.
Once you are in, you will immediately notice the Kaminarimon, Asakusa’s main entrance, where two large statues symbolically guard the temple.
Then you will arrive to Nakamise Dori, a street of 300 meters between the Kaminarimon and Sensō-ji temple where you will find the Asakusa market for tourists, plenty of souvenirs.
Before entering in Sensō-ji temple, you should purchase few sticks of incense to put in the big brazier in front of the temple.
Asakusa is considered one of the few areas of Tokyo that has preserved something of the spirit of the ancient Shitamachi.