Why Don’t You Walk in Asakusa? (Nakamise)

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Asakusa is one of the most popular spots in Tokyo among tourists. Visit a famous temple called Senso-ji at first. Senso-ji is the oldest temple in Tokyo. And it has been popular nationwide by the name of “the Asakusa Kannon.” It is not only the popular touristic place but also the center of faith of Japanese people. Approximately 30 million of people visit there each year.
There is a approach to the temple called Nakamise. There are many small shops of the “Japanese things” on both sides of street. It is the oldest mall in Japan, where you can taste the traditional things or the things peculiar to old Japan.



Start from the Kaminarimon located in the Kaminarimon Dori, which is the entrance of the approach to the Senso-ji Temple. A big lantern is hung in the middle of the gate. A statue of thunder god is enshrined to the left and a statue of wind god is enshrined to the right of the gate. The gate has been placed there from old days. But it was rebuilt in steel reinforced concrete construction in 1960 by Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic which is the famous electric appliance maker in worldwide. It is said that Mr. Matsushita donated this gate to express his thanks when his disease had been cured. Therefore, also the lantern was donated by Panasonic.
This temple gives us pleasant feeling that Shinto shrine sometimes does. It brings us bright atmosphere that may cause business prosperity rather than solemnity of the old temple.

Now walk on the Nakamise Dori. There are many small stores and shops on the both sides of the street. Most of them sell very Japanese goods that will be souvenirs in Japan for tourists. This shopping mall has existed from the ancient days. There has been big turnout because of many stores and shops in the street of 140m from Kaminarimon Gate to Hozo-mon Gate (the main gate of the temple) since Edo era.


?Tokyoite’s Note?
In Nakamise Dori, there are things that you can buy only here and now. This arcade is true department stores of the Japanese things. Now I try to enumerate what they sell. Here we go!
Souvenirs of the Japanese style?
ukiyo-e print, ukiyo-e postcard, ukiyo-e print woodcut, ukiyo-e print oval gold coin woodcut
ornamental hairpin, folding fan, kokeshi doll, Japanese doll, ninja dole, T-shirt, key ring, magnet, tote bag, pin batch belt, art sword, ninja sword, spear, stickers, ninja throwing knives, netsuke
Japanese processed food?
artefact of the seaweed, foods boiled down in soy
Japanese cake, cracker & sweets?
rice cracker, hail, candy, parched bean, bean cake, sweet potato yokan, bean jam ball
Kimono-related things?
decorative collar, obi bustle, underwear, obi, obi cord, clog, sandals, leather-soled sandals, Nishijin brocade products (hakama, bag, accessories), Japanese towel, noren, short coat for kimono, yukata, hakama
Buddhist related things?
family’s Buddhist altar, Buddhist altar fittings, string of beads
Folk crafts
wooden toy, beckoning cat, Dharma doll, mask, folding fan, tips envelope, chopsticks, kite
Electric appliances?
digital camera,?digital associated products, battery, film, clock, toy
strap for handbag, wallet, belt, business bag, Boston bag, suitcase, rucksack, tie, handkerchief

I have mentioned only a few as a example. Each store and shop sells the similar goods if you look at them at a glance. But in fact, each one sells the different things.
It has been providing Japanese-style souvenirs to those who come all the way to Asakusa for sightseeing. Some may say that the Japanese souvenirs sold here are not genuine Japanese traditional goods. But I believe there are not such bad goods. Enjoy shopping there.

?From “Why Don’t You Walk in Tokyo?”?

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