Join the fray in a culture trip back to the Edo era
Asakusa is the heart of traditional Japanese culture in Tokyo, and Kaminari Gate stands as a towering symbol of its cultural significance. First built in 941 AD, the gate burned down four different times before the current iteration was rebuilt by the Matsushita Electric Industrial Company (modern-day Panasonic) in 1960.
Passing through the gate, you’ll join the throng along Nakamise Shopping Street. One of Japan’s oldest, this shopping arcade will take you back over 200 years to the Edo period, when Asakusa was the center of entertainment in Tokyo. Each stall here sells different traditional foods and goods, including crispy, freshly grilled rice crackers, as well as samurai swords, kimonos or Godzilla t-shirts.
Kaminari Gate and Nakamise Shopping Street lead up to Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple and one of tremendous importance. Take note of a small metal brazier giving off plumes of white-purple smoke just before the temple’s main hall. Crowds of visitors clamor to bathe in the smoke here, for just a moment—doing so wards off evil spirits and purifies the soul.
In Asakusa, embrace the throng of revelers and be transported to the Edo era, the beginning of Tokyo’s history as the largest city in the world.