Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rkidz's Japan Travel Blog - Day 3: Travelling around Asakusa

Day 3.

Asakusa and Ueno, the city of cultures. I choose both of afterwards because it is close to my hotel and is one of the popular tourist attraction in Tokyo overall. And I must say, it is amazing.

The first thing I did in Asakusa is head to the Sensoji temple. Going there, you will stumble upon Kaminarimon, is the first of two large entrance gates leading to Sensoji Temple and packed with tourist gathering in front of them. First built more than 1000 years ago, it is no exaggeration to say that it is the symbol of Asakusa itself. Going past the first huge, beautiful gate, there will be the Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and souvenirs that can be seen lining up the road heading to the temple. Sensoji ("Senso" is an alternative reading for Asakusa and "ji" means temple) is Tokyo's most famous and popular temple. Built in the 7th century, it is also one of its oldest, although the current buildings are postwar reconstructions. There is no entrance fee and you can freely go inside as long as you take care of your manners. It is a large, beautiful building, showing the wonders of Asian-style architectures.  Next to the temple, is  the Asakusa Shrine, also known as Sanja-sama, was built during the Edo Period and survived the air raids of 1945. It is much calmer than the temple beside it; less tourist hang out around the area, but is still a very interesting to look at.

Kaminarimon gate
Shopping district heading to the temple
Sensoji temple
Asakusa Shrine

Afterwards, I walk around Asakusa enjoying the shopping districts and looking at the busy yet joyous surrounding. There are shopping districts with shops selling traditional goods, local foods, izakaya and many more. There are also covered shopping arcade with shops and restaurants lined up, and it is a wonderful sight to see.


Then, I went to Ueno, visiting both National Museum of Tokyo and Tokyo Science and Natural Museum. The oldest and largest museum in Japan, the Tokyo National Museum is made up of multiple buildings, each like a separate museum in itself. There is a Japanese style building in the centre, Asian building on the eastern part and a Victorian style building on the western part (which I don't have time to go inside). Entrance fee is 620 yen, and cost a little bit more to access special exhibition. The museum, particularly the one in the middle houses the largest collection of national treasures and important cultural items in the country. Later on, a short walk near Ueno Park, I went to the Natural Science museum that covers both science and natural history with hands-on physics and robotics experiments as well as an impressive collection of mounted animals. Admission fee to the museum is also 620 yen. The scale of specimens and display inside are just outstanding. The fossils display makes the palaeontologist inside me squeal like an anime girl. The museum itself is just so big that I don't have enough time to explore thoroughly inside. I planned to go to the Ueno Zoo afterwards, but had to scratch that because of time constrain, but if you guys love animals, might as well have a chance to visit it.

Ueon Station
National Museum of Tokyo
The Japanese style building in the middle...
Asian gallery on the east...
and a Victorian style building on the west.
Tokyo Natural and Science Museum

Dinosaur fossils!

Later on that evening, I went back to the eastern part of Asakusa, to Tokyo Skytree Town. From there, you can go to the Tokyo Skytree itself. Being a new television broadcasting tower and no less a landmark of Tokyo, It is the centerpiece of the Tokyo Skytree Town in the Sumida City Ward. With a height of 634 meters (634 can be read as "Musashi", a historic name of the Tokyo Region), it is the tallest building in Japan and the second tallest structure in the world at the time of its completion. The highlight of the Tokyo Skytree is its two observation decks which offer spectacular views out over Tokyo. The two enclosed decks are located at heights of 350 and 450 meters respectively, making them the highest observation decks in Japan and some of the highest in the world. The admission price to go up to the first observatory deck is 2060 yen and you need to pay an extra 1030 for the higher, second deck. I went on with the first, less expensive option and I must say the view up there is just astounding.You can see the entire Tokyo City, gleaming in the golden evening sun. It is totally worth the money. Huge glasses provide unhindered 360-degree view, and there are even looking glass on the floor that shows how high you are up in the sky (maybe too much for those who are acrophobic).

Tokyo Skytree
entrance to the Tokyo Skytree
The view up the sky

Later on that night I decided to take a look at the fish displays inside Sumida Aquarium. The Sumida Aquarium is one of the main attractions of the Tokyo Skytree Town complex.The moderately sized, and beautifully designed modern aquarium houses over 10,000 sea creatures on the 5th and 6th floors of Tokyo Solamachi, a shopping and entertainment complex at the base of the Tokyo Skytree.The centerpiece of the aquarium is its 350 thousand liter tank, the largest open indoor tank in Japan. The tank is designed with thick, clear glass walls with almost no visible supports to obscure your view, and allows visitors to see the animals from virtually any angle. The admission price is 2050 yen, a hefty price in itself but for those who loves aquatic animal this is a great place to go into. Upon entering, you will encounter excellent jellyfish display with research laboratory, as well as unique deepwater marine animals inside. While it is not particularly big for an aquarium, it is still very interesting for an indoor aquarium. There are sharks, different kind of exotic fishes, penguins and even seals. It is overall a very beautiful aquarium.


This is the creature that appears in Shimoneta. A garden eel. Now you know.

It had been a really pack and hectic day, but a very fun one at that. Asakusa is a must go place if you decided to go to Tokyo.

Next time, I'll be covering my trip to Tokyo Disneyland. Stay tune!

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