I was already halfway through my 10-day vacation in Japan and I still haven’t been into a single temple or shrine yet. I have visited some of the popular modern attractions such as the Tokyo DisneySea and Fujiko F. Fujio Museum (Doraemon Museum), and been to well-known districts in Tokyo such as Shibuya, Ginza, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Akihabara, and Odaiba. So, I decided to spend the day in one of Tokyo’s olden districts, Asakusa, and see the majestic Sensō-ji temple.
When I got out of Asakusa station, I was immediately welcomed by a rickshaw guy who offers services to tour the district via this ride. After reading several travel blogs telling stories of mishaps with rickshaw tours that has happened in a few countries, I was a bit hesitant at first to give it a try. But I realized that this is Japan, where people are genuinely friendly and getting ripped off is rare. With quick contemplation, I decided to give it a go.
Right outside Asukasa station, the Asahi Beer Hall is already visible and it stands confidently beside the Tokyo Sky Tree. The Asahi Beer Hall looks like an enormous beer glass that is topped with a horizontal Asahi golden flame. The tour guide said that it was made in this orientation because Japan often experiences earthquakes and making the fire burn this way allow it to be more stable and less dangerous. Some locals call it the golden turd since it resembles it in a certain way.
Meanwhile, with a height of 634 meters, the Tokyo Sky Tree is said be the tallest tower in the whole world and the second tallest structure in the whole world behind the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (as of December, 2012).
After telling me a quick story about the Asahi Beer Hall and the Tokyo Sky Tree, the rickshaw tour began.
Our first stop in the tour is the Dempoin Temple. But before we could go there, we passed by many shops that sell clothes, food, and trinkets. Asakusa may be known for its temples and shrines but it also offers a wealth of stores where you can buy almost anything that is Japan. I have seen many traditional Japanese clothing, replicas of swords, and authentic Japanese food on these streets.