by Yuan Huang
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Asakusa

Asakusa is a pocket of tradition and home to Tokyo Sensoji, the oldest and most popular temple. If you want to visit, avoid the first few days of the new year as queues will be several hours long. In front of the temple, there is a shopping street – Nakamise. This street has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional snacks and souvenirs for centuries. Asakusa, is also the best place to try Japanese cuisine. You can find ramen, soba, tempura and snacks like rice sugar, shortcake and sakura paste.

Asakusa also hosts a cluster of domestic kitchenware stores on Kappabashi-dori. Many people visit these for essential supplies. Kappabashi-dori is also known as Tokyo’s restaurant wholesale district. You can buy plastic food, metal spatulas, deep fryers and affordable crockery. Some shops only sell in wholesale quantities, but many are happy to sell single items and factory-made Japanese pottery. Another bargain is the high-quality Japanese kitchen knives – these are much cheaper in Japan than anywhere else in the world.

Visit the Japan Summer Festival and partake in the snacks, souvenirs and mini-games, like the fishing game. Don’t miss the Taiko show – it’s so Japan! Not far from Sensoji, there is the Tokyo Skytree. The views from this 634-meter structure are incredible and there are wonderful shopping and dining facilities at ground level.

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