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        With its busy side streets, historic temple and shitamachi feel, Asakusa might be one of the last areas of Tokyo that manages to preserve the Edo-era vibe.

Before you head off to explore Senso-ji temple, be sure to catch the stellar view from the rooftop of Kengo Kuma-designed Asakusa Tourist Office and stop by Azuma Bridge over the Sumida River for that famous view of Tokyo Skytree and Philippe Starck’s Asahi Beer Tower, decorated with its signature Flamme d’Or (or golden turd, whichever one you prefer).

From Azuma Bridge you can also take short river cruises along the Sumida River, which offer a somewhat interesting view of Tokyo’s concrete jungle on sunny days, but are mostly useful if you are heading for some matcha at Hamarikyu Garden’s Tea House.

        After taking in the marvelous views, walk through Kaminarimon Gate and stroll towards Senso-ji Temple via Nakamise Street and its side streets, which are the perfect place to grab that very Japanese souvenir for your friends, marvel at gorgeous kimono stores and also offer the chance to try some local culinary delights.

        While it might be a temptation to spend your whole afternoon exploring the trinkets and snacks of Nakamise Street, be sure to turn left onto Denbo-in Street and Nishi-Sando Street which are both west of Nakamise Street and Senso-ji Temple. Kocho is an outstanding little vintage kimono store (look for the ninja on top of its roof) which sells both real silk kimonos, cotton yukatas and all necessary accessories for very reasonable prices. 

        Finally, it’s time to satisfy your culinary cravings. At Kokone on Nakamise Street, line up to get your hands on one of the famous Age-Manju, which are deep-fried mochi, filled with various delicacies such as sesame, pumpkin, matcha, chocolate and more. Another must-eat Japanese sweet is Taiyaki at Kurikoan, a traditional fish-shaped waffle filled with similar fillings as age-manju.

Yifang is a Taiwanese fresh- fruit and tapioca tea specialist, perfect for that refreshing caffeine boost midday. Green tea ice cream aficionados will want to make their way towards Suzukien north of Senso-ji, which boasts a staggering seven different levels of matcha ice cream, of which no. 7 is said to be the world’s strongest green tea ice cream (you have been warned).

For a larger variety of foods, head to Marugoto Nippon, a sleek four-floor complex with a farmers market, food hall, regional experience floor, and dining street at the top. 

        Pro tip: If you can manage to stick around until the evening when shops have closed, you can explore Sensoji temple and its surrounding streets in peace and quiet and marvel at the beauty of the temple’s illuminated lanterns, statues and gates with only few people around.

At night, Nakamise street, which is usually overrun with tourists, turns into a quiet outdoor gallery where you can enjoy imagery of traditional Japanese woodblock prints which are painted on nearly all of the shops’ closed shutters.

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