Kaminarimon Gate at Asakusa

Kaminarimon Gate at Asakusa

A big reason why I love traveling to Japan is because they are one of the few countries in Asia that keep a priority on maintaining their culture and traditions. The Asakusa district is one perfect example and I went there last year around March. The temperature was still a bit chilly that time but it was still an awesome day!

Normally I stay at the Shinjuku district but if you’re looking for affordable hotels in Asakusa also it’s not a bad choice. There are plenty of train stations in the area and no shortage of good restaurants.

The main attraction in Asakusa is the Sensoji Temple. Followed by the street stalls and shops called Nakamise that line the way up to the temple. And surrounding Asakusa are many traditional styled shops selling food, snacks and of course a whole lot of souvenirs. Pricey souvenirs too especially the hand made items. I didn’t buy any thing because I’m not a real big shopper. I typically buy souvenirs at Narita airports duty free shops to take back as gifts. This way there’s no need to lug extra stuff to the airport.

kaminarimon-gate-sign-asakusa

So I’m not a shopper. But I am an eater. There’s certainly no shortage of Japanese styled sweets and snacks to enjoy on a beautiful day. The temperature was in the low 70’s and I remember that the days before was rainy with light snow throughout the day. But that day in Asakusa was absolutely marvelous.

tour-guide-at-asakusa

Though there were many foreign visitors in the area it’s a very special temple for the Japanese. Matter of fact there were more locals than tourists. Because Sensoji is a really popular Buddhist temple.  Shintoism is the main national religion of Japan. Buddhism is the second most popular belief in the country. I didn’t know that little fact until I visited Asakusa. See, it’s still possible to learn something new everyday!

Mmmm fried mochi shop...

Agemanju shop…

So there’s a lot of sweets that I easily recognized from other Asian cultures. Like sweet dough with sweeter bean paste. I was hunkering for something unique. Something Japanese. I came across this little shop and heard the gentle murmurings of fryers going on. Anything that’s fried can’t be bad!

fried-treat-at-asakusa

Just $1.50USD for this yummy fried morsel, surprisingly it’s not so greasy…

Plus the place had a line of locals waiting. Which is an even better sign. It’s a shop selling Agemanju with a good variety of flavors and fillings. It’s basically a fried battered soft cake filled with your choice of fillings. Though there were a lot unique flavors, I just went ahead and bought myself a green tea agemanju with green tea infused bean paste. I found a seat nearby and just sat my ass down and scarfed every morsel with the warming sun on my back.

The steps to the entrance of Sensoji Temple...

The steps to the entrance of Sensoji Temple…

I really can’t stress how nice the day really was. There were lot’s of people all around enjoying the day too. And they come to Sensoji Temple to make prayers in hopes that their wishes come true. And though the temple is mainly Buddhist there is a touch of Shintoism which involves cleansing. So you’ll find an area where people can cleanse their hands.

Cleansing with incense...

Cleansing with incense…

And you’ll find an area right in front of the temple where they can “wash” themselves with incense. It’s a deeply religious site with many devote followers and you get this wonderful sense of peace and joy.

After wandering around the temple area I made my way back down Nakamise to take more photos. It was late afternoon by then and there were still a lot of people streaming in. Asakusa and Sensoji Temple is definitely a must not miss visit when you’re in Tokyo!

This shopping street called Nakamise leads all the way up to the entrance of Sensoji Temple...

This shopping street called Nakamise leads all the way up to the entrance of Sensoji Temple…

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