Right after lunch at Coco Curry House, we headed for Asakusa to enable us to return to our hotel early to avoid the evening rush hours.Taking the Hibiya Line from Akihabara, we needed to change to the Ginza line at Ueno station. Being a first timer, the change at Ueno was a little confusing and involves a fair bit of walking and direction seeking to get to the correct platform for Asakusa.
At Asakusa station, take exit 3 for the elevator and you’ll come out on the same side of the street that will take you to the Sansoji Temple. Taking a right and a 100 meters walk will take you to the Kaminarimon (Kaminari Gate) with that big red lantern. This is the first of two large entrance gates leading to Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s most famous and popular temple.
Past this gate you’ll be in the Nakamise shopping street, the oldest shopping street in Japan. It stretches over 250 meters from Kaminarimon to the main grounds of Sensoji Temple. It is lined with many shops which caters for local specialties and an array of tourist souvenirs. Choice of souvenirs depends on your liking but prices isn’t cheap. A few T-shirts and a number of small souvenirs will rapidly escalate to more than ¥10,000
Sensoji (‘ji’ means temple) is Tokyo’s most popular temple visitors come to. Although the current buildings you see now are postwar reconstructions, the original buildings were built in the 7th century. It is the oldest of all Buddhist temple in Tokyo and also comprises of a five storey pagoda within it’s compound.
Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center
The Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center is a distinctive seven storey building in Asakusa. It is located directly opposite the Kaminari Gate of Senso-ji Temple. The building features an observation deck on 8F with an observatory terrace with nice views of the area surrounding Sensoji Temple, Nakamise Street, Asahi (Gold building) and Tokyo Skytree.
Access to the observation deck is free to all visitors. You go up by elevators but expect queue as one would, for anything that’s free. What would usually be a desperate battle against the crowds at Nakamise Street or Sensoji to get a perfect photo, from the terrace it’s non-issue as nobody will be obstructing your view here. There are also seating areas with benches for you to rest after a long walk around Asakusa.