EXPERIENCE in Taito
Choose from a variety of activities in Taito. Study up on Japanese culture with a calligraphy, tea ceremony, or wadaiko drumming class. Relax in a traditional Japanese “sento“ bathhouse. Put on a kimono or transform into a geisha, samurai, or ninja for a day. Make fake food samples or learn how to prepare real Japanese food. Enjoy a meal on a “yakatabune” restaurant boat on Sumida River. Join a walking tour or ask a rickshaw driver to show you around and explore Asakusa, Ueno, and Yanaka in depth.
Instead of exploring Asakusa on foot you can take a rickshaw ride through this old district. Rickshaw drivers in traditional outfits wait near Kaminarimon Gate at Senso-ji Temple. They offer different tours to main attractions as well as to local spots that you might not find by yourself. Ask your driver for recommendations. Asakusa’s rickshaw drivers are knowledgeable guides. They can show you the best historic places, shops, and restaurants.
Especially in the area around Senso-ji Temple you will see many people in kimono. Rental kimono shops offer kimono and yukata (lighter cotton kimono) for visitors. The staff will help you choose a good size and design and get you dressed. You can go for a walk or rickshaw ride all dressed up in a colorful kimono or styled like a samurai. It is best to check different packages and make a reservation in advance.
Calligraphy is called “shodo” in Japanese and written with the Chinese characters for writing and way. One Japanese New Year custom is to carefully write a keyword for the year with brush and ink. At a calligraphy class you can try this anytime. The teacher can help you select a word that has meaning for you or show you how to spell your name. Learn more about Japanese language and culture while you practice your writing.
In the evening you can spot “yakatabune” boats out on Sumida River. They move slowly and are decorated with lights and lanterns. Yakatabune used to be only for nobility and wealthy merchants, but now anyone can visit the floating restaurants. Reserve a table or rent a whole boat for your party. Tickets include a Japanese meal and drinks. Experience a special view of Tokyo Skytree, the cherry blossoms in the spring, or the Sumida River Fireworks in the summer.
“Sento” are traditional Japanese public bathhouses. Some look like a temple building and have big paintings of Mount Fuji landscapes inside. Taking a bath here is similar to visiting a Japanese “onsen” hot spring. There are separate areas for men and women and lockers for shoes and clothes. Please follow the Japanese bath etiquette. Take off all your clothes, wash, and then relax in the bath. Some sento also include a sauna or small garden.