Asia,  Destinations,  Japan,  Travel Diary

A day exploring Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

After discovering my hostel’s stash of electric blankets, I woke up post-DisneySea Day very cozy and warm, ready to face a new day of sightseeing. I decided to explore the nearby neighborhood of Asakusa, famous for Sensoji Temple.

Walking to Asakusa

If a destination is 20 minutes or less, I try to walk there rather than take wheeled transit. It’s more fun to explore the neighborhood on foot, as you can better see the architecture, locals going to/from work, and all the little businesses. This really only works in places with proper infrastructure for pedestrians, but luckily Tokyo is one of those places.

I actually ran into another hostel guest while walking to the temple; she was headed to go to a Mt. Fuji viewing area since the skies were slated to clear up that morning. Unfortunately I totally forgot the name of where that was…

Sensoji Temple

Sensoji is Tokyo’s oldest temple, founded in 645 AD. It’s expanded over the years to become a sprawling collection of buildings, gardens, and ponds. While the main part of the temple is where most sightseers stop, it’s well worth exploring the rest of the grounds as well.

The temple grounds were huge and very impressive, but many of the buildings were fairly similar to Naritasan Shinsoji which I had just visited a few days before. I ended up spending most of my time wandering around the garden areas and looking at fish in the little lakes nearby, and grabbing a few Geocaches.

Nakamise-Dori Street leads from the Thunder Gate to the temple and is full of little shops and snack stalls. I went early enough that most of the restaurant ones were still closed, but the shops looked like the standard tourist souvenir things: small keychains, Japanese sandals, fans, masks, etc.

There’s actually not a ton of graffiti/street art here in Tokyo (though I might just be looking in the wrong places), so it was nice to see something decorative.

Tokyo Station

One of my pre-planned souvenirs was a Traveler’s Notebook, specifically the name brand kind that you can only get in Japan (or from shops that import it). There’s two Traveler’s Factory stores in Tokyo: one in Tokyo Station and one in Nakameguro. (There’s a third in Narita Airport, but I forgot to go visit that one.)

Due to the currency exchange rates, it was cheaper for me to buy my notebook + accessories in Japan! Excluding the cost of the airplane ticket, of course.

These traveler’s notebooks are fun because you can swap out the notebooks when they’re full, and still have the same cover. I figure that’s a great idea for someone on the move, because you can send back the smaller completed notebooks and swap in a new one. Then you’re not stuck carrying around a huge travel journal for months at a time.

I love the little size of the passport notebooks but the regular size notebooks are quite nice as well. Since I’m using a smaller backpack it’s easier to stash the passport size, but the bigger ones would be great for journaling, BIG souvenir stamps, and so on.

After my purchase, I headed over to the Tokyo Station Pokemon Center. It’s a very small section of a hallway full of anime stores, and it’s worth visiting because they have special Pokemon merchandise just for Tokyo Station.

I couldn’t resist this little Pikachu train conductor plush! And of course I got a pressed souvenir coin (which has since been lost).

Eventually I made my way back to the hostel and picked up dinner from a convenience store. I found a chicken and rice bowl which tasted okay, except the chicken was very stringy. Oh well.

Asia 2023 Travel Diaries

Journal date: February 11, 2023

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Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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