1st of January was the day for Asakusa, Senoji and the surrounding area. As usual, we took the monorail from Okaejobo mae, then the yamanote to Akihabara and finally the metro to Asakusa. I must say that Asakusa is a little further from the center but it’s definetly worth the visit.
Main Street in Asakusa
With it’s roots as an entertainment district, Asakusa had kabuki theaters and gueisha houses where merchants would spend a lot of money.
As soon as we got to Asakusa, we realised that visiting Senoji would definitely not happen as there were thousands of people queuing for the first pray of the year.
Crowded entrance to the Senoji
We walked and explored the shops all around the area. There are shops here with really good items, perfect for souvenirs. We found one somewhere along the main road which sold replicas of traditional Japanese paintings, here I bought some postcards with the famous views of Japan by Hiroshige.
View from Asakusa Port with the Skytree hidden in the back
We decided to take a boat cruise from Asakusa to Odaiba as part of our way home. By the time the boat left Asakusa the sun had already set and everything became more magical with the lights.
Boat Tour with the panoramic boat
Odaiba, the artificial island along the Tokyo bay, grew as a seaport district with residential and leisure areas as well as plenty of shopping malls. At night, as we arrived from the boat water bus, we went straight for the Pallete Town, by walking towards the huge Ferris Wheel
Odaiba Feris Wheel and Venus Fort
As a bonus, during the boat trip we even got to see the rainbow bridge lighted up during the night.
Rainbow bridge at night
From Odaiba we took the Yurikamome train that connects with Shinagawa station and the Yamanote line.
From Odaiba we took a set of trains back home to Oikeibajo mae.
Asakusa can get very busy and crowded since the Sensoji Temple is one of the most popular temples in Japan. But around this area, if you skip all the tourist souvenirs shops in Nakamise and escape to less crowded back streets such as Shin Nakamise or Kaminarimon, you can find some shops.
Honestly, Asakusa is a great walk from Ueno. It takes around 20/30 minutes and will be best done if you are not on a tight schedule. You’ll even be able to take some shots of the skytree from a distance.
There are several boat tours you can take from Asakusa that go along the Sumida river. The one we took, the Odaiba direct line that runs between Asakusa and Odaiba. The trip costs around 1500 yen and takes 50 minutes. Boats can be scarce so make sure to plan your trip accordingly.
There are other boat tours available, the one that appeals most to me now is the Mizube Cruise Line along the Sumida River, passing Odaiba and finishing at Kansai Rinkai Park with the possibility of stopping at the Hama Rikyu garden for extra 300 yen.
At Odaiba, for me, ideal was the Ferris Wheel, said to be one of the biggest of the world. Apart from that, depending on your interests, there are plenty of shops and near the wheel there is a Toyota showroom where you can test drive vehicles.
Further south there is an Onsen and for a view over the area you have the Telecom Center building. Near the pier you can find artificial beaches and a park.
When you’re done, make sure you do not miss the opportunity of walking from Odaiba through the rainbow bridge’s pedestrian path. It must be a really cool experience.
For a better idea of the area you can see the monorail in blue, the yamanote line in green and our path in red. The boat path is marked as gray and our way back in Orangeish
What would I do differently
So many things! I would have definetly planned better the boat cruise because we wasted a long time waiting for the time of departure. Time we could have used to visit Odaiba better, by taking the Ferris Wheel or walking the bridge. That would have been amazing!
Merry Christmas everyone! Hope everyone is well and did not eat as much as me…
Only two days left in Tokyo for my journey, they will be two short posts, one about the Edo museum and another for the Sugamo neighbourhood.
Soon it will be 2018! Wishes for an excellent new year!
Thank you for reading and see you next time! じゃねー!