Written by Shirley T
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 13:30
If you recall from my earlier installment, Sensoji Temple which is also known as Asakusa Kannon is the oldest temple in Tokyo. It is a Buddhist temple and houses a golden statue of Bodhisattva Kannon - Goddess of Mercy.
After passing the KaminariMon or Thunder Gate of Sensō-ji, next ahead is a lively shopping street called Nakamise Street. Despite the fact that this is busy street, it only stretches about 250 m in length and occupies a width of 4 to 5 m. Two rows of Momoyama-style merchandise premise were built with integrated electric sign boards and decorated with row of red lanterns in addition to cherry blossom against blue sky indicating the current season to welcome the spring. The atmosphere indeed creates great excitement for visitors to shop!
Lies between KaminariMon (Thunder Gate) and HozoMon (Treasure-House Gate), both sides of the street are lined up with enormous selection of traditional snacks for instance red bean cakes, edible seaweed, rice biscuits and a huge
array of souvenirs including kimono, traditional clothing/shoes, fans, key chains, folk crafts like Japanese sword/knife, Japanese dolls, lanterns and toys. Some claim Nakamise is one of the best places to shop for souvenirs in Tokyo apart from Oriental Bazaar in Omotesando.
History recorded that Nakamise is one of the oldest shopping centers in Japan, dating back to Edo Period. The beginning of Nakamise started in late 17th century when neighbors that resided near Sensoji Temple opened shops and tea houses to serve temple's visitors. The original structure somehow did not survive through the political waves,
earthquake and fire. As a result, the structure I saw during my visit was rebuilt in Fall 1985. At present, Nakamise
Shopping Arcade houses 89 shops.
If you are looking for tea houses or restaurants to sit down and tuck in, detour to the branching street perpendicular to Nakamise Street. We found a nice ramen noodle restaurant somewhere there.
Get off at Asakusa subway station (Ginza Line or Tobu Line), 100 m walk towards west along Kaminari Mon Street.
Opening Hours: Main hall from 6:00 to 17:00 (from 6:30 from October to March)
Sensoji Temple grounds: Open 365 days
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