This weekend I decided that I didn’t want to hide alone in my dorm for two days so yesterday I made my way to a part of Tokyo I have never been to before, Asakusa. Asakusa is a REALLY popular spot with tourists coming to Tokyo because there is a really famous temple there, Senso-ji (浅草寺). Also, across the bridge from the temple is the Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー). Basically this means that there were about a trillion people there, which was a little bit uncomfortable, but I could still do lots of really cool things!
From Shiki it took me around an hour to get to Asakusa on the train. The trip could have been a little bit shorter, but I was looking for the most economical option so I had to change several times to get there and run between different stations. I was surprised and I almost got lost but I made it in one piece for only 269￥!
Because I arrived on the Oedo Line (Toei Subway), I had to walk up a little street before I could get to the main street where the entrance to the temple area is. As you can see, there are a million people here so I moved through right after taking this picture because I felt like I was in everyone’s way. This lantern is essentially the symbol of this temple so everyone wants to see it. I’m glad I could but I don’t think I will go back a lot of times!
After the lantern there is a very long street of shops selling everything from cheap tourist junk, to traditional food, to yukuta (summer kimono). There were a lot of really cool things to look at, but again, there were so many people that it was a little bit hard to stop. A lot of times there were things that I wanted to look at but it was too hard to get to so I just avoided it completely to make my life easier. At the end of the street was the temple. I didn’t go into Senso-ji because there was a huge line to make an offering and I didn’t think it was worth it. I peaked inside from the steps and then went back the direction I came from, but up the side street parrallel to it. I definitely recommend that anyone that wants to look into the shops go up this street! Some of the shops have back entrances that you can use and there is a lot of yummy food that is also on the main street that the line is a lot shorter and easier to get to. I picked up some Japanese sweets here to enjoy. First, I got sweet dango and then after walking into a mall type thing next to the shopping street I got pumpkin cream taiyaki, which is the fish thing below. Both were really delicious and were both under 200￥.
After eating my snacks, I decided that I wanted to go to the Tokyo Skytree. I could have taken a short train ride across the river to get there, but it didn’t look so far so I decided to walk. Google Maps isn’t that great in Japan so luckily I could go there just by walking towards it! Ithink it took me about 15 minutes to walk there and I got to see some interesting side streets on the way so I think that it was a good idea to walk! At the bottom of the Skytree there is a kind of mall thing so I walked around there for a really long time to see if I wanted to buy anything. I didn’t go to the top of the Skytree because the line was really long and also because it cost around 2000￥. Maybe I would pay that much if I could go up with a friend but going alone it seemed like it wasn’t worth it. Maybe I can go back in the future! When I finally decided I wanted to leave…I got lost in the food section of the building. It ended up being really good because all the food areas were giving out samples so I could try Japanese cheesecake and some other sweets! It was a really good experience.
When I finally made my way out of the building it was into a cute little alleyway next to the Tokyo Skytree Station (that I didn’t take back home either.) It was really beautiful. There were some shops and also a few restaurants. My favourite part of this was the candy shop that was there. They made homemade candy and did live demonstrations of how they made the candy. I got there at the end of the demonstration so I looked around the store next door for 30 minutes so that I could see the next batch of candy being made! When I went back they were making lime candies.
I think by the end there were over 10 people watching and everyone got to try some of the candy that they made.
It was really interesting to see and worth waiting for.
As cool as it was, when I exited the building it was dark because it was after 6pm. Japan doesn’t do daylight savings time so it gets dark really early here. A normal person would have taken the train at this point, but I was determined that I would be able to make it back on my own safely without taking the train back to Asakusa. Somehow I navigated my way through the dark and made it back to Asakusa successfully so that I could do another complicated travel back to Shiki in order to save money. On the way back I could see an amazing view of the Skytree with it’s lights on. It’s a much nicer structure in the dark.
Because I walked I also got to see this really strange sculpture…I’m not really what it is for but it sure is interesting! Moral of the story: Walking alone in the dark you are able to see really bizarre things and have no answer as to why they are there! It was a great day but really tiring. I also had to stay up half the night and do homework because I was gone a lot longer than I thought that I would be. It was so worth it though! I wonder where I am going to explore next?