If you want to enjoy both the tradition and the modernity of Japan, Asakusa (浅草) is the best place to visit. It offers you an assortment of traditional souvenir shops, restaurants, temples, parks, beautiful views of both traditional and modern architecture. It’s not only a popular spot for locals and tourists, but also attracts many photographers from all walks of life.
The photo above was captured while I was traipsing around Asakusa area. Two young ladies were wearing colorful kimonos and they seemed to be asking a guy about a trishaw ride. Changing the color image to monochrome (black and white) gives you a feeling of walking back to the past. And the background was just perfect for the picture, as if you were traveling back to the Edo period in Japan.
The 634-meter high Tokyo Skytree is the modern architecture you will see when you get out of the Exit No.4 of Asakusa station Ginza line. The whole tower lights up at night in different colors, giving a beautiful colorful reflection on the surface of Sumida River. Cruise boats rides are provided here, taking you to Hinode Pier or Hamarikyu Garden. One cruise boat ride costs 760 yen.
The famous ‘Kaminari-mon’ (雷門) which literally means ‘Thunder Gate’, is the traditional architecture near the area. There are other old temples around the area which you may look at if you have the time or just for the sake of photography.
Beyond the ‘Thunder Gate’, you will see a variety of souvenir shops selling many interesting Japanese gifts like Japanese dolls wearing kimono, Japanese solar powered toys and so on. This is the best place to shop for gifts and most shop staffs can speak pretty good English. I’ve heard some tourists bargaining with the shop staffs in English. At that particular time, it was a pleasant surprise for me indeed.
From Sensoji Temple, you can also enjoy both the lights up of the temple and the Tokyo Skytree.