Asakusa

Old Five-Story Pagoda Site

Old Five-Story Pagoda Site

The five-story pagoda of Sensoji was considered as the one of the “Edo Shito,” or Four Towers of Edo. The other three pagodas were located at Kaneiji, Zoujoji, and Tenouji temples. The current five-story pagoda is located in the west part of the temple grounds, but the original site was located at the opposite portion on the east side. A stone monument now stands at the old site of the original pagoda. Sensoji's five-story pagoda was originally built in 942. Over the years, it has been lost to fires and rebuilt numerous times. The former 33-meter tall five-story pagoda that was lost during the Great Tokyo Air Raid of March 10, 1945 was built in 1648 by Iemitsu Tokugawa, the third shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate. The former pagoda was known nationwide as a favorite subject for ukiyoe artists, including Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi Utagawa.

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Stone Bridge

Stone Bridge

This stone bridge was dedicated by Nagaakira Asano, the husband of Princess Furi, the daughter of Ieyasu Tokugawa, as the sacred bridge to the Toshogu shirine that was built on the Sensoji grounds. It is the oldest stone bridge in Tokyo. The 3.3m by 2.2m bridge constructed from Komatsu stone is designated an important artwork.

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Rokkakudo

Rokkakudo

Built in 1618, it is the only structure from the Muromachi period that is still standing today in the 23 special wards of Tokyo. It is the oldest wooden building in all of Tokyo and is designated as an important cultural asset by the Tokyo metropolitan government. It is the oldest building in the Sensoji complex. The principal image is the Higiri Jizoson and it is said that the wishes come true in the number of days you designate in your prayer. The wooden structure is hexagonal in shape with stone-supported wooden foundation, underneath which there is a well-shaped hole lined with 11-layer stone wall. This is a very rare structure that has remained unscathed through both war and earthquakes.

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Five-Story Pagoda

Five-Story Pagoda

The Five-Story Pagoda was originally built in 942 by Kinmasa Taira, the protector of Musashi, as were other Sensoji structures like the main building, the Kaminari Mon and the Hozo Mon. It was lost to a fire in 1041, rebuilt in 1635, and again lost to a fire just 7 years later. The pagoda was rebuilt yet again in 1648 by the third Tokugawa shogun Iemitsu Tokugawa, and was loved by people as one of the Four Towers of Edo or “Edo Shito,” along with pagodas of Kaneiji, Zoujoji, and Tenouji temples. This building was designated as a national treasure in 1911, but was sadly lost to war fire on March 14, 1945. The current steel-framed concrete structure, completed on November 1, 1973, is built on top of a corridor-type pagoda housing 100 Sho Kannon statues and 12,000 tablets from the buddhist followers for perpetual memorial. The original site of the pagoda was on the right hand side when facing towards the front of the main building. Today, it is on the opposite side of the temple grounds, standing 53.32m tall, making it the second tallest such structure in Japan next to the five-story pagoda of Toji temple in Kyoto.

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Asakusa Entertainment Hall

Asakusa Entertainment Hall

The Asakusa Entertainment Hall came about in 1964 by adding fourth and fifth floors to then already existing Toyo Theater in Asakusa. Before this, there was no vaudeville house in Asakusa. It is one of the four entertainment halls in Tokyo that have rakugo shows year-round, along with Suzumoto Entertainment Hall in Ueno, Shinjuku Suehirotei and Ikebukuro Entertainment Hall. Since the hall's grand opening, the Rakugo Association and the Rakugo Arts Association take turns every ten days to put on rakugo shows. Now legendary rakugo masters, including Bunraku Katsura, Shinsho Kokontei, Ensho Sanyutei have all performed here, and popular rakugo performers like Danshi Tatekawa and Enraku Sanyutei have been entertaining people at this location since when they were just starting. The fourth floor of the hall was once called Asakusa France-Za, famous for bringing to the world many Japanese actors and comedians, including Kiyoshi Atsumi, Isamu Nagato, Toru Yuri, Hachiro Azuma, Kinichi Hagimoto, and Beat Takeshi. In 2000, the Asakusa France-Za was renamed “Asakusa Toyo Kan,” and now is the only mixed genre theater in Tokyo, putting on various entertainment shows such as comic dialogues and chats, skits, magic, paper-cutting, acrobatics, and impersonations.

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Kimura-ya Main Store

Kimura-ya Main Store

Kimura-ya is the oldest ningyo-yaki shop in Asakusa, opening its doors in 1868. The founder came up with four distinct Asakusa-related shapes for their ningyo-yaki: The five-story pagoda, lightning god, lantern and pigeons. The exquisite taste and the lovely shapes of Kimura-ya's ningyo-yaki are so famous that they even appear in works by a novelist Mantaro Kubota.

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Angelus

Angelus

Angelus is a coffee shop that opened in 1946 and is the first place to serve Dutch coffee in Japan. The name, Angelus, means “sound of a sacred bell.” The signature item is a small roll cake by the shop's name. Plum dutch coffee, dutch coffee with plum wine, is also recommended. The warm and comfortable three story building is modeled after an European mountain villa. This coffee shop is both traditional and playful and has attracted literary greats like Yasunari Kawabata, Kafuu Nagai and Osamu Tezuka.

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Yagenbori

Yagenbori

This Shichimi, or seven flavor chili pepper, speciality store has catered to heat lovers since 1625. The store sells shichimi with the perfect balance of chili peppers, baked chili peppers, poppy seed, hempseed, powdered Japanese peppers, black sesame seed and dried citrus peel. The recipe that has been created after years of research makes shichimi with distinct spiciness and aroma. Yagenbori's shichimi has been loved by people since the Edo period. You can even have the peppers blended to your liking to create your very own shichimi.

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Komagata Dozeu

Komagata Dozeu

Komagata Dozeu started business in 1801, at the time of the 11th Tokugawa shogun, Ienari Tokugawa. The restaurant name “Dozeu” comes “Dojiyau,” the proper way to write out “loach” in Japanese. The founder Sukeshichi Echigosuke considered “Dojiyau” as bad luck as it used four characters. Instead, he had then famous signs maker Senkichi Shumokuya write “Dozeu,” a three-letter word, on the shop entrance curtain. This quickly made the restaurant very popular, and by the end of the Edo period, other loach eateries started using “Dozeu.” The loach stew, recipe of which has remained unchanged since the restaurant's inception, is a delicacy that has been loved by the Edoites for a long time. Live loaches are fed sake to remove any odor from the fish. Drunk loaches are then simmered in sweet miso-based soup. When the loaches are fully cooked, the green onions are added with shichimi and Japanese peppers sprinkled to one's liking. The softness of the fish's meat and umami is out of this world. Once you cross the entrace curtain, you will go back in time to the Edo period when people sat right next to each other to enjoy the warming loach dishes.

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Yoshikami

Yoshikami

Yoshikami opened in December, 1951 as a small 10-seat open-counter diner on a side street of Rokku Kougyogai in Asakusa, the entertainment center of Japan between the Taisho to the Showa periods. The Western-style restaurant is famous for its unique catch phrase, “We are sorry our food is so good!” Menu encompass many items such as hors d'oeuvres to steak and sandwitches, but the most popular items are Hayashi rice, Omu-rice and beef stew. Cutlet sandwitch is also popular as a take-out item.

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