Asakusa is a district in Tait˘, Tokyo, Japan, most famous for the Sens˘-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. There are several more temples in Asakusa, as well as various festivals.
Asakusa is on the north-east fringe of central Tokyo, at the eastern end of the Ginza subway line, approximately one mile east of the major Ueno railway/subway interchange. It is central to the area colloquially referred to as Shitamachi, which literally means "low city," referring to the low elevation of this old part of Tokyo, on the banks of the Sumida River. As the name suggests, the area has a more traditionally Japanese atmosphere than some other neighborhoods in Tokyo do.
With so many religious establishments, there are frequent matsuri (Shinto festivals) in Asakusa, as each temple or shrine hosts at least one matsuri a year, if not every season. The largest and most popular is the Sanja Matsuri in May, when roads are closed from dawn until late in the evening.
In a city where there are very few buildings older than 50 years because of the wartime bombing, Asakusa has a greater concentration of buildings from the 1950s and 1960s than most other areas in Tokyo do. There are traditional ryokan (guest-houses), homes, and small-scale apartment buildings throughout the district.
In keeping with a peculiarly Tokyo tradition, Asakusa hosts a major cluster of domestic kitchenware stores on Kappabashi-dori, which is visited by many Tokyoites for essential supplies.
Next to the Sens˘-ji temple grounds is a small carnival complex with rides, booths, and games, called Hanayashiki. The neighborhood theaters specialize in showing classic Japanese films, as many of the tourists are elderly Japanese.
Cruises down the Sumida River depart from a wharf only a five minute walk from the temple. Because of its colorful location, downtown credentials, and relaxed atmosphere by Tokyo standards, Asakusa is a popular accommodation choice for budget travelers.
Asakusa is Tokyo's oldest geisha district, and still has 45 actively working geisha, including Sayuki, Japan's first Western geisha.