Japan

5 Things To Do In Asakusa, Tokyo – 634m-Tall Tower, Underground Shopping Street & Stunning Temples

Top things to do in Asakusa, Tokyo


Although the March holidays are just over, you could already be planning your next trip after viewing snippets of your friends and family’s recent getaways on IG stories. Perhaps you’ve already settled on the obligatory holiday to Japan, but the question now is where exactly should you enthral your social media audience with?

You’ve already dived into the tropics of Okinawa, and a frigid trip up north to Hokkaido is better suited for a year-end retreat. Instead, you’re headed a little more centrally for this upcoming sojourn, to Asakusa, Tokyo. From skyscraping views to a covert shopping street, here’s what to expect in this tradition-meets-modern district.


1. TOKYO SKYTREE


Tallest building in Japan with stunning views of Tokyo


If you can’t wait to be mesmerised by breathtaking vistas, you can reach TOKYO SKYTREE by taking a train to the tower’s nearest train station, Oshiage Station, directly from Narita Airport once you touch down.
Image credit:「©TOKYO-SKYTREE」

You literally can’t miss the colossal TOKYO SKYTREE when you peer out of your aeroplane window as you await touchdown at Narita Airport. It’s the tallest entirely self-supported tower in the world, and it stands at a whopping 634m tall – to put things into perspective, it’s more than 3 times taller than Marina Bay Sands which is just shy of breaking 200m.

The view from the Tembo Deck on Floor 350.
Image credit:「©TOKYO-SKYTREE」

Although the highest floor of the TOKYO SKYTREE is marked as floor 450, the tower doesn’t actually have hundreds of levels for you to stop at, but instead houses 2 observation decks. These are the TEMBO DECK and TEMBO GALLERIA, which sit at 350m and 450m above ground level respectively.

The scenes from up here are impressive on either deck, and the panoramic view of Tokyo is dynamic as well. You’ll be able to see the famed Mount Fuji on a clear day, while a visit in the evening nets you sunsets and twinkling stars at night.

Image credit:「©TOKYO-SKYTREE」

The TEMBO GALLERIA also houses Sorakara Point, which is the highest accessible area of the tower clocking in at 451.2m above ground level. Back down on the TEMBO DECK, it has a partial glass floor which you can walk over; definitely not for the faintest of heart.

When you’re feeling a little peckish up in the sky, you can grab light snacks and drinks at the cafe on the TEMBO DECK.
Image credit:「©TOKYO-SKYTREE」

While you’re enjoying the views, there’s plenty to do up here. You can stay for dinner at the Sky Restaurant 634, or snag exclusive Japanese souvenirs for your colleagues at the SKYTREE SHOP. There are even ticket deals like the SKYTREE ENJOY PACK you can purchase online; there’s one that comes bundled with a full-day kimono rental, so you can frolic amongst the clouds in style.

Admission: From ¥1,800 (~S$16.30)
Address: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-Ku, Tokyo, 131-0045, Japan
Opening hours: 10am-9pm, Daily
Contact: +81 570-550-634 | TOKYO SKYTREE website


2. SUMIDA AQUARIUM & Konica Minolta Planetarium Tenku


Zen-like jellyfish exhibits & dreamy projections of the universe


Image credit: SUMIDA AQUARIUM

Should you be looking to spruce up your Instagram feed even more, then make a beeline for SUMIDA AQUARIUM. You don’t even have to stray too far away from our previous location for this one; it’s conveniently located on the 5th floor of the surrounding TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN.


Image credit: @na_____1214 via Instagram

The main cast of the aquarium include adorable Magellanic penguins, which are housed in the aquarium’s huge 350-ton tank along with fur seals to keep them company. You also have to stop and admire the jellyfish display; witness hordes of jellies effortlessly bobbing about, illuminated by a kaleidoscope of dazzling colours.


Similarly, this tranquil hideout is located in TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN, this time on its 7th floor.
Image credit: @tobu_japan_trip via Instagram

Also nearby, the Konica Minolta Planetarium Tenku is another tranquil stop to chill at; you’ll get to gaze at dynamic projections of the star-filled cosmos. The planetarium is fitted with crescent-shaped seats for 2 to snuggle in, and is also equipped with an exquisite 3D sound system for maximum immersion whilst you drift away into oblivion.

SUMIDA AQUARIUM
Admission: From ¥2,500/adult (~S$22.64)
Address: 5-6F, TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN Solamachi, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Tokyo, 131-0045, Japan
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm | Sat-Sun & PH 9am-9pm
Contact: +81 03-5619-1821 | SUMIDA AQUARIUM website

Konica Minolta Planetarium Tenku
Admission: From ¥1,600/adult (~S$14.50)
Address: 7F, SKYTREE TOWN Solamachi, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Tokyo, 131-0045, Japan
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10.30am-10pm | Sat-Sun & PH 9.30am-10pm
Contact: +81 3-5610-3043 | Konica Minolta Planetarium Tenku website


3. Asakusa underground district


Underground shopping street with Cyberpunk vibes



The exposed pipes on the ceiling give the street impeccable Blade Runner vibes.
Image credit: @likesomecatfromjapan via Instagram

After you’ve had your fun dangling in the sky, come back down to earth by exploring the Asakusa underground district. Like its name suggests, this subterranean district exists below the unending footfall of Asakusa’s busy streets, and is the oldest of its kind in Japan.

Established in 1955, it’s a perfect encapsulation of Shōwa era Japan, as you’re flanked by an array of antiquated storefronts. Here, a petri dish of stores beckon; one moment you’re relishing in a hot bowl of noodles at a standing udon bar, the next you could be getting your future read by a scrying fortune teller.


Image credit: @camerakuni via Instagram

If you’re looking for unfettered access to this rustic part of the city, one conspicuous entrance is in front of EKIMISE shopping mall, marked by this cute mole-bearing sign. While its shops may have regular operating hours, the district itself is open 24/7, so feel free to drop by anytime for a cyberpunk-inspired photoshoot after dark.

Address: 1-1-12 Asakusa, B1F, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily


4. Sensō-ji


Oldest temple in Tokyo


With Asakusa being so steeped in tradition and history, you definitely can’t give Sensō-ji a miss. The Buddhist temple was founded in 645 AD, making it the oldest temple in all of Tokyo.


Image credit: Sensō-ji

Before stepping foot onto the temple grounds, you’ll have to take a stroll down the approximately 250m-long Nakamise-dōri, which is a street lined with almost 90 shops selling souvenirs and goodies like imitation swords and sweets.

Do also try out the street grub here; offerings include shine muscat grape candy, truffle curry bread, and Asakusa’s famous Ningyo-yaki, which is a human-shaped cake filled with red bean paste.


The 5-storey pagoda to the left of Sensō-ji, despite being very pretty, is off limits to the general public. It contains memorial tablets, and only those related to the deceased may enter. Best to admire it from a distance.
Image credit: @tokyo_gov via Instagram

Once you’re done bumping shoulders with the crowd in Nakamise-dōri, head straight for Sensō-ji. Here, you can partake in activities, such as picking out an omikuji ¥100 (~S$0.89) to tell your fortune, as well as purchasing omamori charms (¥1,000, ~S$8.92) which are blessed Japanese amulets said to ward off bad luck and usher in the good.

Image credit: ASAKUSA KANNON SENSOJI, @ho._.vi via Instagram

For those chasing that picture-perfect shot, the huge Kaminarimon lantern suspended from the gate in front of Nakamise-dōri is a hit with tourists. Another hack you can employ is to head to the top floor of the nearby Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center; there’s a small opening in the fencing for you to fit your camera lens, to capture stunning views of the temple from afar.

Address: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 111-0032, Japan
Opening hours: 6am-5pm from 1st April – 30th September | 6.30am-5pm from 1st October – 31st March
Contact: +81 3-3842-0181 | Sensō-ji website


5. Sumida Park


Blooming cherry blossoms & water bus tours



Image credit: @winneuro via Instagram

The cherry blossom season is but a few days away, so time your visits well and you’ll be rewarded with dramatic scenes of falling sakura petals. One spot to quell your spring fever is Sumida Park, a quiet patch of greenery right next to Sumida River.

The park is well-known for its hundreds of cherry blossom trees which bloom to life in unison. To experience the best views for hanami AKA flower viewing in Sumida Park, you’ll want to drop by sometime during March and April.


One of the cruise lines even ferries customers around on this futuristic-looking ship.
Image credit: @kiyoka_tokyo via Instagram

Even if you don’t manage to catch a glimpse of the flowers in time, you can hop onto a boat and float leisurely down the Sumida River. There are a couple of different cruise lines, and they all run their own routes.

Regardless of which one you choose, they all promise great views of the city; keep an eye out for notable buildings poking out of the skyline, like the TOKYO SKYTREE and Asahi Beer Hall, gilded in gold.

You can also take a leisurely jaunt down the SUMIDA RIVER WALK; it’s a 160m-long steel bridge that’ll take you across Sumida River, and right to TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN.
Image credit:「SUMIDA RIVER WALK」

Address: 1-1, Hanakawado, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 111-0033, Japan
Opening hours: 7am-10pm, Daily


Plan a trip to Asakusa the next time you’re in Japan


Singaporeans are definitely no strangers to Japan; fire up IG right now and you’ll most probably scroll past a friend living their best lives in cities like Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto. Honestly, we can’t blame them, as there’s just so much to see and do here that repeat visits are essentially a must.

Image credit: ©TOKYO-SKYTREETOWN

In fact, you’ll probably need a whole day to explore places like the TOKYO SKYTREE, as its base is where you can find TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN, home to a slew of attractions.

Image credit: ©2024 Pokémon. ©1995-2024 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

Shopaholics can have their fill visiting TOKYO Solamachi, a sprawling shopping complex packed with over 300 stores and restaurants. Of course, shops featuring your favourite Japanese characters can be found right here.


Image credit: @takyam1201 via Instagram

For an alternative retail experience, you can hit up TOKYO mizumachi instead. It’s a quaint shopping district located right down the banks of Sumida River. It’s also a gateway to the city centre when you’re coming from TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN, as it’s only a 15-minute walk from here to the rest of Asakusa.

Image adapted from:©TOKYO-SKYTREETOWN, LATTEST SPORTS

Plan for afternoon tea at TOKYO mizumachi by munching on Japanese confections at ichiya; their parfaits and warabi mochi are great complements to a day out by the river. In case you’re feeling sporty, there’s even a bouldering gym over at LATTEST SPORTS, as well as an indoors, sand-filled playground for the lil’ ones to muck about in.

Even if you’re just jetting over for a short trip, Tokyo’s a great family destination for a quick recharge. As such, start filling out your itinerary with the best Asakusa has to offer; let’s save the ski resorts of Niseko and Hakodate for December, where the wintry vibes are in full swing.

Learn more about TOKYO SKYTREE

 


This post was brought to you by ©TOKYO-SKYTREE and ©TOKYO-SKYTREETOWN.
Cover image adapted from:「©TOKYO-SKYTREE」, @jiahuimuses & @tobu_japan_trip via Instagram
The content of this article is accurate at the time of publication. Please check the latest information before visiting.

Khoo Yong Hao

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