Asakusa, Tokyo, with kids

Asakusa is famous in Japan because of its temples - the biggest ones in Tokyo. We visited it with our kids. Click to know how it went! #asakusa #tokyo #japan #travel #familytravel

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We visited Asakusa in September 2016.
It was hot and humid and crowded. Really crowded. And impressive. We loved it. Most of it. On this post, you’ll find all we did around Asakusa, in Tokyo, Japan with kids.

 

 

This is Kaminari-mon, the gates of Asakusa. We visited it with our kids. Click to see more!

Kaminari-mon, Asakusa, Japan. It was this crowded throughout the shopping streets. When we got to the temple, it was calmer but oh man… was it hard!

Asakusa for families

We arrived at Asakusa train station and were surprised by the noise level. It was even louder than Osaka’s Universal Studios Halloween while the zombies were chasing us.

The rickshaw guys were shouting, really. But they weren’t shouting to get people inside their carriage, they were shouting the way. They were saying ‘Kaminari-mon is this way’ and I was thinking ‘WTH is Kaminari-mon?’.

By the way, Kaminari-mon is the Asakusa gate.

Before you reach the temples of Asakusa, you must cross Nakamise (the street shopping mall) and, if you like all things Japan, you'll find it hard to pass through without buying anything. Find out more!

Nakamise-Dori, it was pretty cool. The faces are blurred for the people’s privacy. The whole main street is like this, completely lined with little shops, uber crowded, and extremely touristic.

Yeah, I was tired.
And there was a store full of Ghibli things, so my attention was elsewhere.

After looking around the little shop and not buying anything (our bags were a bit fuller than they should already), we decided to abide by the rickshaw drivers (or pilots?) and head to Kaminari-mon.
It was pretty close and easy to find, as it was more crowded than Disney (or we thought so). The huge bright red gate was easily spottable.

One of the most important sites in Asakusa is Asakusa Shrine. It's beautiful, well kept, but very crowded. If you travel with kids, keep them close. Click for more!

Asakusa Shrine, so Japanese I have no other words for it. This part was already a lot better crowd wise. We could put back our personal space bubble there!

I didn’t know what was beyond that gate because I researched Asakusa when we bought our tickets to Japan. It was months and months ago. I’d researched so many different things after that that I ended up not knowing anything at all.

Lesson one: at least read the notes you took the night before your trip. 

Senso-ji is the biggest temple in Asakusa, and one of the biggest in Tokyo. Find out how it was to visit Asakusa with kids!

Buddha by the exit of Senso-Ji. There were many, many statues of Buddha and the small ojizo-san around the neighborhood.

A stop at Kaminari-mon, the Asakusa gates

Behind the Asakusa gates was Nakamise, a street full of little shops. We’ll call it Asakusa Market.

The sweet shops are incredible, they all look awesome and delicious but you probably need to like sweet azuki beans.

There’s one thing we found that everyone liked, which was the Ice Monaka, an ice cream filled cookie, and it’s really good. The ningyo-yaki is the traditional Asakusa sweet, it’s a soft cookie filled with sweet azuki beans paste, and it’s lovely.

The gardens surrounding the temples and shrines of Asakusa are stunning. We spent most of our time there. Click here to see more!

Coral watching the koi-fishes swim around the beautiful pond. The garden of the temples and shrines are better for families, I always find it.

There are many shops at the Asakusa Market: food, sweets, souvenirs. We didn’t look at all of them, but we did wander around a bit and it was so crowded we decided not to try to look at things too closely. Really do take your time wandering around and don’t fret buying from the first shop because many of them sell the same thing at similar, but not exactly the same price.

 

 

There's a lot to see around Asakusa, in Tokyo. It's a must visit! Click for more!

We saw a few people dressed in kimono/yukata and they were stopped often to be photographed. And look at the lanterns made by the local school’s kids!

The temples of Asakusa, Tokyo

There are 2 main temples there, the Senso-Ji and the Asakusa Temples. They’re pretty similar to each other. They’re both small in size. Senso-Ji was a bit more crowded than Asakusa Temple. They aren’t super different from other temples in Japan, so you might as well save your time if you’re not temple-obsessed.

The kids had no patience to see the inside of all the temples, where they had to keep their voices down, stay close, walk nicely. They’d rather be outside, where they could talk, laugh, take photos, run.

One of the best things in Asakusa is to wander around the many, many stalls and little traditional stores in the area. They are beautiful and many offer many treasures.

Nishisandou Omatsuri Shoutengai, I loved it! Another one of the Asakusa Markets, but this was covered and way less crowded!

As almost always, I enjoyed most the gardens than the temples themselves. It’s very beautiful, full of things to see. Coral loved watching the koi swimming at the pond. The older kids loved seeing the lanterns drawn by other kids. I loved people watching and wandering around looking at all the beautiful sweets.

In Japan, you need to enter at least one temple to see the inside of it. It's intricate and beautiful, but they're so crowded!

Inside Senso-Ji. It was bright and stunning, yes, but also very crowded and not family-friendly.

Nakamise and the markets of Asakusa

We left the temple grounds and went to walk around the surrounding areas. There’s Hanayashiki Amusement Park just outside, which we didn’t visit.

There was an owl café there too, which we didn’t also visit due to ethical reasons. We only realized there was such a thing there because there was a guy with an owl on his shoulder and it looked at us, even turned its neck 180° to keep watching us.

Asakusa: things to do

There are many things to do in Asakusa for families with kids. I’ll list them below to summarize all the things said before!

  • ride at the human-powered rickshaws from Asakusa Station to Kaminari-mon.
  • buy some adorable souvenir (from keychains to lucky charms)
  • play omikuji, though you might want to learn at least the letters of lucky (吉), unlucky (), super lucky (大吉), medium luck (中), super unlucky (大吉) to have a clue at what you get. It’s a piece of paper with your luck and much little advice on all areas of life. If you get the bad luck ones, tie them on a branch of a tree!
  • try out the many street foods in the area – grab one and share so you don’t fill yourself too soon!
  • play on the lovely gardens, and watch the colorful fish swim around
  • get in a temple or a shrine to get a glimpse of the faith of the Japanese people

If you wish to have someone more knowledgeable to show you around, grab a guide!

This is one of the stalls in Nakamise, selling only Japanese sweets. They are delicious BUT not for everyone!

Angelo buying some different things for us to try. By the way, I recommend you try the Anmitsu (the little bowl there on the bottom shelf) because it’s delicious!

Where to eat in Asakusa

  • Angelo saw the ice cream melon pan (melon flavored bread filled with ice cream) and ate one at Kagetsudo at Nishisandou Omaturishoutengai. It smelled incredible and Angelo said it was really good. Their soft serve ice cream display was the best!
  • Meanwhile, we were getting hungry and saw a small and very old looking udon restaurant, so we went for it. It was called Sasagoya and it was super simple, cheap yet delicious! The 2 ladies there were extremely lovely. Highly recommend it! They did not, however, speak any English.
  • Don’t miss the street food in Nakamise!
Senso-ji is one of the most important temples in Tokyo. Click to see more!

Just outside Senso-ji – there’s so much around the temples that we always regret a little going inside them. haha

I’d recommend you take your time wandering around the temples, taking in all the beauty the place has to offer and then, wandering around the beautiful surrounding area. We loved just walking around Asakusa, such a beautiful place!

  • Where?
  • Minimun Stay
  • $ ~ $$$
  • Child-friendlyness
  • Best local transport option
  • Safety
  • Do we recommend it?
  • Asakusa, in Tokyo, Japan
  • a day
  • $$
  • It’s very busy, crowded, and loud. Kids must be watched very closely all the time
  • WALK!
  • There’s the risk of losing the kids in the middle of the sea of people, but other than that, safe!
  • YES!

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