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The top 4 souvenirs from Asakusa that I recommend



2020.09.04 (Fri)

By Charlotte, long-term Tokyo resident & history-loving traveler

Many people visit Asakusa on their trip to Tokyo. Wouldn't it be great if you can find some souvenirs for your family and friends that they will see and immediately know that you've been to Asakusa? Today, I'll be recommending 4 of my favorites out of all the popular souvenirs that you can find in Asakusa.
1. Ningyo-yaki
Ningyo-yaki may look like nothing more than a brown cake at first glance, but its castella dough is actually packed with red bean paste! There are even some versions that have been made to resemble the faces of the Seven Deities of Good Luck or the famous red lantern hanging from Asakusa's Kaminarimon gate. You really wouldn't know which one to try first.
I recommend getting ningyo-yaki from Bairindo, which you will see right after passing under the Kaminarimon gate and turning into Nakamise-dori Street. The staff at this shop is extremely friendly and will certainly invite you to give their items a try.
Address: 1-18-1, Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
2. Ankodama
You'd be surprised at how colorful these sweets are when you see ankodama for the first time. These little ball-shaped sweets in vibrant colors such as pink, green, yellow, and white are just the right size to fit snugly into the palm of your hand!
I recommend trying the ankodama from Funawa, a well-established shop selling traditional Japanese sweets. Although anko (red bean paste made by simmering red beans with sugar) is a common ingredient in many traditional Japanese sweets, Funawa's ankodama is made by rolling the anko into balls and wrapping them with kanten (agar-agar). You'll get to try a variety of different flavors from red bean and white bean to matcha, strawberry, orange, and even coffee! Make sure you check the expiration date before buying some as these sweets don't last very long.
Address: 1-3-5, Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
3. Kaminari-okoshi
Kaminari-okoshi is a Japanese snack made by steaming rice into rice cakes and roasting them to puff them up before adding starch syrup, sugar, and peanuts to the mixture and pressing them into flat crackers. This candy is believed to bring good luck because of the Japanese word "okoshi" in its name that derives from the verb "okosu," which means to "establish" a family or a name. This is a great choice for a souvenir because it can last a while.
I recommend getting kaminari-okoshi from the main branch of Tokiwado, which you can find right next to the Kaminarimon gate.
Address: 1-3-2, Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
4. Karinto
Karinto is a Japanese snack made by kneading flour with sugar and water and rolling the dough into long rods, which are then deep-fried in hot oil before they are coated in syrup made from brown or white sugar and dried. These slightly firm and sweet karinto are so addictive that you won't be able to stop once you start eating them.
I recommend trying the karinto from Karin Coron. This snack not only tastes great but has a packaging that's perfect for souvenirs! The plastic bag that contains the karinto is wrapped with Japanese washi paper. If you lay this paper out, you will find that it depicts the beautiful scenery of Asakusa, Kamakura, Nihonbashi, and other places. You can even use this washi paper as a stylish décor for the wall of your room or as a book cover! Getting this souvenir kills two birds with one stone as you'll get to enjoy a delicious snack while reveling in the beautiful scenery of Japan.
Address: 2-2-4, Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Please check in advance for business hours and holidays if you want to visit specific shops.

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