Old Tokyo

Asakusa Area Guide

Old Tokyo > Taito Ward > Asakusa

Lying along the Sumida River, Asakusa is in the heart of Tokyo’s shitamachi. It is unfailingly on any travel guide list, and deservedly so: Asakusa is rich in culture and one of the capital’s most important historical places. It is famous among tourists and locals alike for Senso-ji, the most visited temple in Tokyo.

History of Asakusa

Asakusa actually owes much of its growth to nearby Kuramae. During the Edo period (1603-1868) Kuramae—which means “in front of the storehouses”—was, as its name suggests, a storage district for rice. This staple food was used as payment for the samurai, and middlemen (fudasashi) offered storage space for a small fee. These industrious individuals soon branched out from being mere rice keepers to exchanging the rice for money and then selling it—at a healthy margin—to other local merchants. The proceeds were then lent out to others with interest. Through this process the fudasashi found themselves with a considerable amount of disposable income and those that were more than willing to help them spend it gathered over the years in Asakusa—Kabuki theatres and geisha houses were aplenty.

Access | Map | Google Maps

Come out of Exit 1/2/3 of Asakusa Station (Ginza Line and Asakusa Line). See also Taito City’s Map of Asakusa here (PDF download).

Things to Do & See in Asakusa