Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan
Early morning was absolutely my favorite time in Asakusa. I know most are drawn to the touristy places, like Sensoji Temple and The Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) which we still visited, but before and after the crowds had come and gone. For me, this is one of the best ways to experience these places. It’s quiet and calm, you can really stop, take your time exploring and enjoy a different side of Asakusa.
We stayed at B:Conte Asakusa, which I highly recommend. It’s in a super convenient location, close to everything you want to do. The nearest station is Asakusa Station which will get you pretty much anywhere you need to go in Tokyo. The hotel itself is super quiet and offers free breakfast everyday at the restaurant downstairs. We enjoyed an amazing shower, a fully equipped kitchen, in room washer/dryer, and the warmest toilet seat ever (best thing I’ve ever experienced, you will never want to sit on a cold toilet seat again).
Favorite Places to Eat in Asakusa
Daikokuya Tempura – Delicious tempura and a fun atmosphere. Daikokuya is right next door to Sensoji, so it fills up fast. Get there early to miss the crowds and have some delicious tempura.
Lawsons – Don’t miss eating at a konbini (convenience store). They’re definitely not the convenience stores we’re used to in the states. I could have eaten there everyday, always something new to try. This is also where you’ll find a lot of Japanese workers getting their breakfast and lunches, so an actual place to eat like a local, lol.
Some Lawson’s Favorites were
– Green Smoothie
– Godiva + Lawson Collaboration Sakura Dessert
– And all the sandwiches, oh my goodness, the sandwiches
Boba 365 – It’s not as kawaii (かわいい) as some of the other boba and milk tea shops in the area, but the line was short, which is why we stopped and it didn’t disappoint. I had a matcha boba and it was so good.
Kagetsudo – The best place to try melon pan (no, it doesn’t taste like melons) in Asakusa. We went to the Asakusa Sakura location, there are several in Asakusa. Kagetsudo has been open since 1945 and serve the most delicious, fluffiest melon pan ever. Seriously forget the Mike Wazowski melon pan at Tokyo Disney. Needless to say this is an extremely popular spot, so getting there early is best to beat the crowds.
Coffee Akane Saryo – This is the place to sit and enjoy matcha and a dessert. We had the black sesame coffee parfait and one of their matcha sets with Dorayaki (red bean filled pancake).
Marugoto Nippon – I just about died at the level of cuteness here. Filled with local goods from around the area, this is where you’ll find the yummiest snacks in the cutest packaging. Since we had a kitchen in our hotel room, we found often found ourselves at this market looking for fun things to try cooking at “home”. It’s also a great place to get food souvenirs to bring home.
Nearby places to shop + walk
There’s a ton to see in and around Asakusa, you could literally spend your entire vacation exploring the area. All the places below are highly recommended and very walkable.
Sensoji Temple + The Kaminarimon – This is an amazing walk at night. All the crowds are gone and it’s so peaceful. Even though the shops are closed, a night walk on Nakamise Dori is something most tourists miss out on, it’s a whole other experience. Don’t feel like missing out if you don’t shop here, there are soooo many great vendors around Asakusa where you can find just about anything Japan you want.
Don Quijote Asakusa – Don’t miss Donqui! Like I said above, there are plenty of less crowded places to get all of your souvenirs and Donqui is one of them. We spent a good amount of time browsing and picked up some of our favorite snacks + souvenirs here.
Kappabashi Dori – For everything kitchen Kappabashi Dori is about a 10 minute walk from Sensoji Temple. It was so much fun to find our way down all the little side streets and see what we could find along the way. Once we got to our destination all of our kitchen dreams came true. Have fun exploring each of the shops, which I highly recommend. We picked up everything from coffee accessories, to our favorite rice bowls. And if you’re looking for your first Japanese knife, Kappabashi is where you want to go.
Ueno Park + Swan Boats – This is a longer walk, about 30 minutes, but definitely doable and so much fun. Ueno Park is huge and there is so much to do. There are several museums + temples, but the Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) at the end of March are one of the biggest draws to Ueno. If it’s not too busy, the swan boats are also a super fun experience.
Tokyo Skytree + Sumida Park – We found ourselves on another early morning walk and surprise visit to Sumida Park. If you go at the right time, you can see a ton of locals coming together for a morning stretch session. It was so much fun to see everyone of all ages come together and enjoy their exercise. Once you get to the park you’ll be super close to Tokyo Skytree, which has great shopping and an observation deck. See if you can find the golden poop!
We spent about one week exploring Asakusa and the surrounding area and didn’t even scratch the service (we spent the next week around other parts of Tokyo). There’s a ton to see and although we had a few things on our to see + do list, the best part was really just leaving the day open, exploring, getting “lost” and just seeing what we could find.
I’ll be posting another Tokyo City Guide, including Ginza, Akihabara, Shibuya, + Motosumiyoshi.