During our day out with Kyoko, we explored two wards of Tokyo: Asakusa and Sumida, both located in the northeast of Tokyo.
We began first in Asakusa, most famous for Sensō-ji, an ancient Buddhist temple. Sensō-ji is Tokyo’s oldest and probably most important temple. When you get off at the Asakusa metro stop, the first part of the temple you see is the Kaminarimon, or the “Thunder Gate”. Featured is a massive paper latern painted in vivid red and black to suggest thunderclouds and lightening.
As you walk through the Thunder Gate toward the temple, you can find many traditional shops selling souvenirs and delicious sweets! The shops themselves are actually part of a living tradition of selling to the pilgrims who walked to Sensō-ji.
After visiting the temple in Asakusa, we headed to the neighboring ward Sumida. Sumida has a really beautiful skyine, most notably the Tokyo Skytree and the Asahi Breweries Headquarters (the building with the golden foam). The Tokyo Skytree is a broadcasting tower and the tallest man-made structure in Japan, as well as the tallest freestanding tower in the world. We took an elevator to the upper levels to take in the view!
For dinner we head back across the river to have dinner in Asakusa at a typical izakaya. An izakaya is a type of casual gastropub in Japan, a bit like a pub or tavern. We let Kyoko order everything – especially when we saw how small the English menu was compared to the Japanese menu!