By David, long-term Tokyo resident & food-loving traveler
Asakusa’s Senso-ji Temple is one of Tokyo’s must-see spots. Take a walk through the temple grounds and the surrounding streets. This area has a lot of tasty street food, snacks, cafes, bars, and old shops - and as an added bonus you can find many interesting locations to take pictures.
Sight-eating through Asakusa
Asakusa is a great place to combine sightseeing and eating. In Japanese, there is a word for this called “tabe-aruki”, literally meaning eat-walk. Tabe-aruki is a great way to explore Asasaku.
Begin at Senso-ji Temple’s Kaminarimon Gate, one of Tokyo’s most iconic photo spots. Nakamise Street begins on the other side of the gate. It is lined with about a hundred small shops. Many of them sell tasty sweets and snacks. Stop and try a few freshly made snacks such as Agemanju (deep-fried steamed manju cake filled with sweet bean paste), Kaminari-otoshi (rice crisps in different flavors such as matcha tea or peanut), Ningyo-yaki (small cakes filled with sweet bean paste that are shaped like animals or objects), and Senbei rice crackers. At many shops, you can watch how artisans make these treats fresh right in front of you. There are also boxed versions of these snacks sold that Japanese visitors like to buy for their colleagues and family.
About halfway up through Nakamise Street turn left into Denbo-in-dori. This street is filled with shops that look like they come from the Edo Period (1603-1868, when Tokyo was called Edo). Try some of the savory street food snacks sold here like Asakusa Munch (deep-fried meat patty) or visit one of the restaurants for tempura, udon noodles, or ramen. Behind the small stores on the right side of the street is Denboin Garden. You can catch a glimpse of it when the big gate to Senso-ji Chingodo is open, but the garden itself is usually closed.
Kaede, on one corner of the small crossing of Denbo-in-dori with Happy-dori, is known for traditional Japanese “dango” sweets. Opposite of Kaede is one of the Asakusa shops of Oimoyasan Koshin, a specialist shop for sweet potato offering treats like sweet potato ice cream and cake.
Turn right into Hoppy-dori Street and check out the many Japanese-style izakaya bars here. This is a very popular spot for Japanese visitors to take a break from sightseeing, sit down with a drink, and sample savory bar snacks. Although Hoppy-dori is a very short street, there is a great choice of bars here.
For even more “tabe-aruki”, continue straight past down Hoppy-dory past the Richmond Hotel Asakusa and then turn right into Asakusa Nakamise. The red shopping arcade has a wooden floor and a fun festival theme. Under its roof, there are more popular shops where you can eat ramen, have another drink, or eat a big melonpan (sweet bread with a crispy cookie crust). On the other side of Nishisando, you will return to the Senso-ji Temple grounds near the temple’s pagoda and Main Hall. To return to Kaminarimon Gate, walk back through the big Hozomon Gate and Nakamise Street.
Please check in advance for business hours and holidays if you want to visit specific shops. Please also keep in mind that in some areas eating is not allowed.
Here are more places to explore in Asakusa and nearby Ueno and Yanaka
Tokyo sightseeing - 2 hours in Asakusa - A quick visit of the highlights of this old Tokyo district
Where to eat in Asakusa - 3 popular local sweet shops
Breakfast & brunch in Asakusa - Places near Senso-ji Temple where you can eat in the morning
Tokyo for foodies: Vegan restaurants in Asakusa - Enjoy delicious vegan Japanese food in Tokyo
Tokyo souvenir shopping for foodies - Delicious Japanese sweets and snacks that travel well
Asakusa shopping - Orange Street: Japanese textiles, accessories, crafts, sweets, and Hello Kitty
Take your cooking to a new level in Kappabashi Kitchen Town
Shopping for foodies in Tokyo - Ueno’s Ameyoko Market - Sweets, snacks, and everything you need to prepare traditional Japanese dishes & lots of eateries and bars
Yanaka Ginza - shopping for foodies and cat lovers in this charming old Tokyo district - Try Japanese style “tabe-aruki” and explore the area eating and walking