Nakamise-dori, the Skytree and Sumida River

Nakamise shopping street is THE place for souvenirs. The street is located in Asakusa, and the entrance to Nakamise-dori is marked by a large gate (known as Kaminarimon) with a well-decorated bell on top.

Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) - the entrance to Nakamise-dori

Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) – the entrance to Nakamise-dori

Past the gate are rows and rows of tiny shops and stalls that sell everything from Japanese souvenirs to ice cream sandwiches and fish crackers. It’s a budget haven that can also be called a tourist trap – and if you leave the area empty-handed, you’re gonna have to tell me your secret. I did my entire souvenir shopping here. Bargaining is a concept that’s quite alien in Japan, but the more you buy in one shop, the more they give you a ‘special discount’ and trying to ask for a lower price than that will just get you a firm headshake.

Nakamise-dori is said to be one of the oldest shopping streets in Tokyo.

Nakamise-dori is said to be one of the oldest shopping streets in Tokyo.

The place is well-known and often very crowded, even during the mornings.

The place is well-known and often very crowded, even during the mornings.

Nakamise-dori shopping street

Nakamise-dori shopping street

The streets feel like they go on and on - make sure you spare at least a couple of hours for the shopping alone!

The streets feel like they go on and on – make sure you spare at least a couple of hours for the shopping alone!

Asakusa’s main attraction is the Senso-ji temple, which is located at the end of Nakamise-dori. This temple is just a building, i.e. it doesn’t have the large grounds that Meiji Jingu does, but it’s equally impressive due to its architecture and colours. The same hand-washing ritual was available here, as well as another one with smoke – the incense sticks are all lit up and placed in the center, and the smoke that arises from these incense sticks are said to have healing power. So if you want to get smarter, direct the smoke to your head; if you want to cure your legs/ stomach/ back etc, direct the smoke to the appropriate body part.

The temple tower @ Senso-ji

The temple tower @ Senso-ji

Washing my hands according to the Japanese ritual before entering Senso-ji Temple

Washing my hands according to the Japanese ritual before entering Senso-ji Temple

Pretty decorations and lanterns were all around the temple walls

Pretty decorations and lanterns were all around the temple walls

Temple ceiling art

Temple ceiling art

At the wishing ‘well’ – more like wishing pot. Directing the smoke to my head as that seemed the most appropriate thing to do.

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You can also get your fortune read; if it’s good luck, you can take it home with you, but if it’s bad luck, then you tie it at the shrine, leaving your bad luck behind, as they say. I got some bad luck; I wanted to pick again but unfortunately that’s not how it works, so I tied mine up at the shrine in the hope that it’ll never find me.

Waiting in line for our fortunes. You grab a jar full of numbered sticks and shake. One stick will fall out - the number on the stick corresponds to the box which holds your fortune.

Waiting in line for our fortunes. You grab a jar full of numbered sticks and shake. One stick will fall out – the number on the stick corresponds to the box which holds your fortune.

Tying my 'bad' fortune and leaving the bad luck behind at the Temple

Tying my ‘bad’ fortune and leaving the bad luck behind at the Temple

After the temple visit and Nakamise-dori, we headed for a river cruise along the Sumida River. The cruise runs all day in thirty-minute intervals, and there are three to four different routes to choose from. It was nightfall already, and the Tokyo Skytree was beautifully lit up. The boat ride was breezy but not as enjoyable as I expected, probably because the boat was enclosed. The Skytree is actually an observation tower as well as a telephone/ broadcasting tower and a restaurant. The Tokyo Skytree station is a metro station by itself, and you can get off here and head to the rooftop for more stunning views of the Skytree. It’s also a pretty romantic setting, with a small garden, a few benches, and yellow lights shining from selected trees.

The beautiful Sumida River at sunset

The beautiful Sumida River at sunset

'Selfie' time after a long day while waiting for the cruise ship to start

‘Selfie’ time after a long day while waiting for the cruise ship to start

The Tokyo Skytree from the Skytree station. Still need to head up to the roof..

The Tokyo Skytree from the Skytree station. Still need to head up to the roof..

Halfway up to the rooftop..

Halfway up to the rooftop..

View from the rooftop.

View from the rooftop.

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3 thoughts on “Nakamise-dori, the Skytree and Sumida River

    • Where did you get your souvenirs?
      Love your blog entries on Tokyo. I missed out the Tsujiki Market when I was there because we just couldn’t wake up early enough :/

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