Explore the Popular Spots of Asakusa in Half a Day with a Guided Cultural and Street Food Tour!

Asakusa has so many things to do, see, or eat (like Senso-ji Temple) that it could take a full day to explore. If you don't have the time for that, consider a guided walking tour. In less than half a day, you'll get to visit all the main sightseeing spots of this historic neighborhood of Tokyo. With a local guide that can speak English, it's easy to shop, snack, and explore! Read on for our top recommendation, which will guide you to both the main and little-known sightseeing spots in Asakusa, and will also let you snack along the way!

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* This article was made in collaboration with Magicaltrip.

Why Go on a Guided Walking Tour?

→ The guide can answer any questions you may have, allowing you to learn more about the spots you're visiting and the food you're eating. If you don't know Japanese, you'll really come to appreciate having a guide around!

→ The guide can help you explore an area in far less time than you would if you went on your own. Great if you don't have a lot of time to explore a place or you'd just like to explore many places in a short amount of time!

→ The guide can take you to lesser-known spots that most foreign tourists wouldn't know, allowing you to soak in the true essence of Japan.

Our Top Recommendation for Guided Walking Tours in Asakusa

Our top recommendation for guided walking tours in Asakusa is the Asakusa Cultural & Street-food Walking Tour run by the company Magicaltrip.

As the name implies, you'll get to walk around Asakusa with a local guide who can speak English, visiting all the main sightseeing spots and trying out its street food. It lasts just 3 hours, allowing you to spend the rest of your day exploring other parts of Tokyo. The tour itinerary changes depending on the participants' preferences, but when members of our editing team went, this was our itinerary:

1) Kaminari-mon Gate
2) Nakamise Shopping Street
3) Denpoin Street
4) Senso-ji Temple
5) Asakusa Nishi-sando Shopping Street
6) Kappabashi Street
7) Lunch (Okonomiyaki or Monjayaki)

You can click on each part of the tour itinerary that you're interested in to be taken to a thorough explanation of the sights we saw and the foods we ate. If you'd rather go straight to booking a guided walking tour for yourself, here are the details you should know:

Tour Time: 11 am - 2 pm, runs every day of the week
Price: US$60 per adult, US$20 per child (4-15 years old), Free for infants (0-3 years old)
Included: Some Japanese snacks and sweets, lunch (okonomiyaki or monjayaki + 1 drink), free tour photos, 3 hours with a local guide who can speak English*

*Even if you aren't fluent in English, you can go on this tour. The guide will be more than happy to show you around the best that they can!


Want to know what going on the tour was like for us? Keep reading to find out!

Kaminari-mon Gate

The actual meeting spot is the police box by the Kaminari-mon Gate, so if you get there early, you'll have extra time to appreciate the beautiful architecture of the gate. The fastest way to get there is by exiting from Exit 1 of Asakusa Station (assuming you take the Ginza line there).

Since the gate is one of the main attractions of Asakusa, regardless of the time of day, you'll see a ton of people there. It can be difficult trying to get a souvenir photo, but if you ask the guide, they'll find a way to help you get an amazing shot!

Nakamise Shopping Street

No visit to Asakusa is complete without a visit to Nakamise Shopping Street, one of Tokyo's busiest and oldest arcades. With its close proximity to Kaminari-mon Gate, it's no wonder that this is the next stop in the tour itinerary. Even on weekdays, the street is crowded with tourists looking for souvenirs, traditional Japanese clothing, and snacks.
 

Since this is the foodie tour, you'll periodically get to stop and try out the various street foods and snacks sold here. We highly recommend giving the giant strawberry daifuku (round mochi stuffed with sweet dumpling) a try! The strawberry was juicy and fresh, and we very much enjoyed the chewy texture of the mochi.
 

The snacks are included in the cost of the tour, and if you have any dietary restrictions, all you have to do is let the tour guide know and they'll introduce you to some delicious snacks or sweets that you can eat.

Denpoin Street

The tour's contents change depending on the participants' preferences, but you'll generally get a taste of the relatively unknown, even though the tour mostly covers the main sightseeing spots of Asakusa. Our tour guide took us to Denpoin Street because we wanted to know what kinds of secret spots the locals knew about.
 

Denpoin Street is another shopping street that cuts across Nakamise Shopping Street. Unlike the main street, it carries a more retro Japanese townscape, with shops crammed into old wooden buildings and traditional Japanese music flowing in the background. It actually seems more retro than Nakamise Shopping Street, but you have to be there to believe it!
 

Our next food stop was Asakusa Menchi. It's apparently famous for selling the popular local specialty, menchi katsu (deep-fried minced meat cutlet). It's given piping-hot, and has a delicious meaty flavor that will make you want to consume it all despite the oiliness! Just note that the only place to eat it is in the neighboring eat-in space, as you are not allowed to eat while walking on the streets.

Senso-ji Temple

Senso-ji Temple is perhaps Tokyo's most photographed temple, so it is only natural that the temple is included in the tour itinerary. When you enter the temple grounds, the first thing you're sure to notice is the staggering amount of visitors. If you shift your gaze upwards, you can take in its beautiful red exterior, which is one of the main reasons why tourists love coming here.
 

You'll get to try everything there is to do while you're on the temple grounds, and the entire way, the guide will be there to teach you anything that you don't know. Find out your fortune for the upcoming year by doing some traditional Japanese o-mikuji...
 

Purify your body by steaming in the smoke wafting out from the cauldron in front of the temple...
 

And pray for another good year inside the temple building itself.

Asakusa Nishi-sando Shopping Street

Asakusa Nishi-sando Shopping Street is relatively rare in the sense that it's one of the few public roads in Japan to be made out of wood*. Its design is meant to hark back to old Japan, and its beautiful red and wood brown interior is worth a close look.

*Japan outlawed creating public streets out of wood many years ago. This particular shopping alley is made out of wood because it is actually a private road that's part of Senso-ji Temple.
 

You'll have yet another opportunity to gorge yourself on the variety of street foods that are on offer here. In our case, since it was quite hot that day, we asked for black sesame soft-serve ice cream and ate it in front of a special summer pop-up at the entrance of the shopping alley. Delicious!

Kappabashi Street

Kappabashi Street is another famous sightseeing spot in Asakusa, but it's actually quite far away from all the other spots mentioned in this tour thus far. It can be difficult to find by yourself even with Google Maps since there's no obvious signs until you get quite close, so we were glad to have a guide with us that day.
 

Our guide took us to one of the biggest food sample stores on Kappabashi Street for some souvenir shopping. Other popular souvenirs that participants have purchased include knives and other cooking utensils. If you wish to browse those kind of shops, just let the guide know and they'll do their best to accommodate you.
 

As you can see, the Japanese food samples we saw looked pretty realistic. The human-shaped carrots shown above became a big hit in Japan a couple of years back, so we were happy to have gotten a look at them.

Afterwards, we didn't have much time left (oops), so we decided to head to the lunch spot. Along the way, however, we got to see some pretty interesting sights...
 

The first picture above is a statue of a kappa (mythological Japanese creature with a turtle-like head). The tiles below it form a picture of a kappa. This double kappa phenomenon makes for a great photo spot!
 

You'll also get to look at wacky buildings like the one shown above.

Lunch

For lunch, you will be taken to a restaurant that sells okonomiyaki and monjayaki. The guide will help you make your order from a special Magicaltrip menu, so you can relax and enjoy the homey, retro atmosphere of the store.
 

First time eating okonomiyaki or monjayaki? Don't know how to make either of them? The guide will show you how to make it, so don't fret!
 

The okonomiyaki at the shop we went to was absolutely delicious and 100% made by us. It was a great end to the short but activity packed tour. The guide took us back to the meeting spot, we shook hands, and parted ways.

Book Your Asakusa Tour Here!

If you don't have a lot of time to tour Tokyo but you still want to get all the main sightseeing spots out of the way, or if you want someone to tell you all the fascinating facts about the Asakusa area, go on a guided walking tour! We had a great time with a local guide who was fluent in English, and we're sure you'll have a grand time, too.

If you're interested in booking the tour that we went on, here are the details:

Tour Time: 11 am - 2 pm, runs every day of the week
Price: US$60 per adult, US$20 per child (4-15 years old), Free for infants (0-3 years old)
Included: Some Japanese snacks and sweets, lunch (okonomiyaki or monjayaki + 1 drink), free tour photos, 3 hours with a local guide who can speak English

Things to Do After Your Tour

Since the tour is only 3 hours long, you can spend the rest of your day exploring other parts of Tokyo. Here are a couple of places that we recommend you visit:

Try the World's Most Intense Matcha Gelato at Suzukien Asakusa

Suzukien is the place to go for matcha fanatics. They sell matcha gelato with 7 different concentrations of matcha, with the most intense claiming to have the highest concentration of matcha in the world!
 

Get it in a cup or a cone. Alternatively, if you're not a big fan of matcha, they have hojicha.
 

Shop for Instant Curries from All over Japan at Curry Land Asakusa

If you don't have the time to explore all of Japan, at least you can try curries from all over Japan at Curry Land Asakusa. If you go inside, all the shelves are packed full of curry packets! It's a rare sight to be seen.
 

Next to the store, you'll even find a curry packet vending machine! We're not sure if it's the only one in Japan, but we do know that it's the first we've heard of.
 

Visit Nearby Neighborhoods

Asakusa is fairly near other famous sightseeing spots like Ueno and Akihabara, so if you want to speed ahead with your Tokyo exploration, why not visit those spots next?

 

With so many things to see and do in Tokyo, it's important to find ways to efficiently explore the city. Guided walking tours can come in handy for that, especially in popular sightseeing spots like Asakusa, so do give them a try the next time you're lacking for time or simply looking for someone to guide you around.

 

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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