Asakusa Tour: Edo History and Senso-ji Temple

Uncover the former Geisha district of Tokyo with a local expert
From US$232 privately
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Tour Details
2 hours
Product Type
  • Senso-ji
  • Asakusa
Photos & Highlights
  • Tour of Asakusa district led by an expert in Tokyo history
  • Gain deeper insight into the city's transformation from village to metropolis
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Tour Description
During this two-hour Asakusa tour, we'll join a local historian and Tokyo expert to explore this exciting neighborhood sitting in the "low" area of the city, away from Tokyo’s flashy lights and business centers. Also known as the geisha district, the Asakusa area was well established before the Tokugawa Shogunate began to rule from Edo—what later became Tokyo—in 1603. We will discuss this national narrative as we walk through this area that still hints at some of the characters of old Japan. We'll explore the role of Asakusa as a sleepy fishing village turned geisha district, and look at larger themes of pleasure and entertainment in the history of Tokyo, all the while getting a great feel for the atmosphere and culture of this popular area of Tokyo.

To frame the story of Asakusa's place in Edo (now Tokyo), our Tokyo walking tour revolves around Buddhist temples. We'll weave between Asakusa's past and present, discussing its importance and significance to Japan’s distant history, but also such recent topics as the after-effects of WWII and the birth of the plastic food that can be found across Japan. We'll come to better understand how the neighborhood has evolved—and stayed the same. We’ll discuss Asakusa's role as an entertainment district, ukiyo (the "floating world" pleasure-seeking culture of Edo-era Japan). This is one of the main reasons why Asakusa became what it is: without the trade and development of the merchant houses, there would have not been enough money to float around in the "floating world."

We'll walk briefly along the shopping street Nakamise Dori, discussing how Asakusa was rebuilt after the WWII firebombing. Our Asakusa tour ends, however, at Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple, Senso-ji. This is one of Tokyo's most important religious sites, badly damaged during WWII but eventually rebuilt. We may also discuss the Asakusa shrine, which lies on the grounds of the Buddhist temple showing that unique mixture of Shintoism and Buddhism that has, in many ways, made Japan what it is today. Senso-ji and its Japanese-style garden make for a quiet place of contemplation, and it's here that we'll wrap up our walking tour.

Wrapping up your Tokyo Asakusa Tour, you'll emerge with a stronger understanding of the many roles this neighborhood has played in the history of Edo/Tokyo as well as the area’s overall connection to the rest of the country.
  • You like to walk and want to cover a lot of ground while learning from an expert
  • You're a history lover wanting to follow in the footsteps of famous figures
  • You want to satisfy your thirst for knowledge while immersing yourself in the history of the city
  • Senso-ji - It is Tokyo's oldest-established temple and one of its most significant. It is dedicated to Kannon, the bodhisattva of compassion.
  • Asakusa - It is a historic neighborhood in Tokyo and a popular tourist destination known for its unique blend of traditional and modern cultures.

Additional Trip-Planning Resources

  • For more information on planning your travels to Tokyo, take a read through our Context Stories.
  • If you are looking to learn more about Tokyo before your visit, check out our online lectures at Context Learning.
Is this tour suitable for visitors with mobility issues?
This tour is very walking intensive, we recommend visitors with mobility issues to reach out to us to ensure we can alter the tour to accommodate their level of mobility.

What happens if it's raining?
Our tours happen rain or shine. Our guides are great at adapting their route during changes of weather. Please bring an umbrella.

Is it okay to tip my guide in Japan?
Yes. Context clients generally tip anywhere from 10-25% of the purchase price of a personal service such as this, depending on the quality of the experience and their tipping habits.
Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.

Where You'll Start
(4.66) 75 Reviews

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Maybe not the tour for our family. We have had a few other tours in Japan that included shrine visits so had the history of Shinto pretty much covered and the combination of crowds and heavy rain and having to just stand and listen for 2 hours was not something teenagers would like. I think this tour would be good for people who are really interested in deep knowledge of the history.
Jefferson was a great host. He was very knowledgeable of the Asakusa area, this history of the area and the local attractions. He was able to keep things interesting for 2 adults and 2 kids aged 12 and 15. I’d gladly recommend the tour with Jefferson.
Good information, very interesting perspective and observations, and a lovely introduction to Japan.