By David, long-term Tokyo resident & food-loving traveler
Orange Street, Orange-dori in Japanese, is one of Asakusa’s many small shopping streets. Rickshaws often pass through here, their drivers pointing out popular stores and the handprints of artists and entertainers at the entrance of Asakusa Public Hall. The hall on the corner of Orange Street and Denbo-in-dori is a theater with a stage for Kabuki.
Let’s take a short walk down Orange Street from Asakusa Public Hall. If you want to dress up in kimono or yukata browse the shops opposite the theater where you can rent or buy new and vintage outfits and accessories (the tempura restaurant Nakasei in its old-fashioned building set between the shops is a popular background for taking pictures in kimono). A little further down the street you can buy more modern accessories made using traditional skills.
At Kamawanu you can buy tenugui, thin cotton towels hand dyed with classic Japanese patterns and designs like seasonal flowers or scenes from Asakusa. They are nearly too nice to dry your hands and look good as wall hangings. Asakusa Kashiwa Beads has accessories and bags decorated with small Japanese beads. Often you can watch a craftsmen at work here. And Asakusa Maekawa Inden makes wallets and bags from lacquered deerskin covered in colorful patterns. If you want to shop for Japanese tableware, ceramics, bento boxes, and knives, go to the shops near the corner of Orange Street and Kaminarimon-dori.
Two new shops with fun Asakusa-only items are the Hard Rock Cafe Tokyo Asakusa Rock Shop and Sanrio Gift Gate. At the Rock Shop you can stock up on Hard Rock branded clothes and one of a kind items made by Tokyo craftsmen in a style inspired by traditional patterns and rock music. Sanrio Gift Gate’s store front is one big Hello Kitty. The store has everything Hello Kitty and her friends - dolls, t-shirts, towels, suitcases, sweets and bags made by local Asakusa maker Inujirushi Kaban.
To refresh, have some ice cream and sweets from Mangando. They make all kinds of tasty treats from sweet potato. For a more leisurely break, go to Funawa at the corner of Orange Street and Shin-Nakamise. This is the sweet maker’s main store with a cafe upstairs serving Japanese sweets like Kakigori shaved ice with fruit, anmitsu with ice cream, or imoyokan with a cup of frothy matcha.
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