Asakusa/Ueno

A cultural stronghold, Asakusa and Ueno are home to longstanding traditions and incoming trends.

Find more locals than foreigners in Asakusa and Ueno, a taste of traditional Tokyo with a tinge of tourism. As the gracefully-worn area ages along with its residents, new shopping centers slip between street side parks and slowly replace peeling buildings. In Asakusa and Ueno, some things remain irreplaceable—Tokyo’s oldest temple, Senso-Ji, stands as a testament to the past and a tourist attraction in the present.

See places to stay Save this neighborhood

On the Map

Asakusa/Ueno is within Taito District and bordered by Akihabara, Chūō District, Arakawa District, Chiyoda District, Bunkyo District, Sumida District, and Kita District

  • Public transit is Easy
  • Having a car is Possible

Haneda Airport: 30 minutes by car or 45 minutes by public transit
Narita Airport: 1 hour by car or 1 hour & 10 minutes by public transit
Shinjuku Station: 35 minutes by public transit
Ueno Station: 7 minutes by public transit or 8 minute walk
Tokyo Tower: 40 minutes by public transit

Preserving the Past In Present Day Tokyo

Taito Goto

Gently fraying around their seams, Asakusa and Ueno preserve the hard-working ideals of Tokyo's low city, or Shitamachi, culture.

Taito Goto

Across the Sumida River from their Shitamachi counterpart, Sumida District, Asakusa and Ueno feel like Tokyo from generations passed even as new shopping centers begin to build up.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto

Sometimes, modern-day Tokyo is as easy to see as the Skytree tower across the river.

Taito Goto

Other times, contemporary establishments blend in with traditional outposts.

Taito Goto

Other times still, neither blend in at all.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto

When traditional forms of transportation transform into real-time photo-ops, the past and present blend together.

Taito Goto

Mostly, Asakusa and Ueno attract residents and visitors looking for a taste of old Tokyo.

Taito Goto

Sidewalk square footage is reserved for small restaurants' makeshift patios making room for diners slurping noodles and sipping shochu.

Taito Goto

Neighborhood institutions knit tightly the fabric of Asakusa and Ueno.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto

Communal seating at Kamiya Bar ensures shared stories and shared glasses of Denki Bran, the bar's original sweet brandy-like brown liquor.

Taito Goto

御馳走様(でした)!

Pixel
...one of Tokyo's most fascinating areas, a maze of little streets most too narrow for cars, and 100 temples. Yanaka was never bombed in the war so it has the true taste of old Tokyo. The area is wonderful for walking around and there are many places to eat or buy ready-made food to eat at home."

The Main Attraction: Senso-ji Temple and Its Surroundings

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Pass through Senso-ji Temple's Kaminarimon Gate and arrive in the single place you'll see more tourists than locals in Asakusa and Ueno.

Taito Goto

The temple and its immediate environs burst with people shopping for souvenirs, snacking on local fare, and leaving written wishes at its shrine.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto

During festivals, the temple hosts Kabuki performances.

Taito Goto

When the temple is festival free, visitors peruse craft stands and indulge in typical Japanese favorites like Yakisoba straight from the grill.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto

Events often take place at the temple.

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Bridal couples unite.

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Here's to their good fortune.

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Outside Senso-ji's gates, visitors choose souvenirs from the area's many shops and stalls.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto

They watch as Japanese treats materialize.

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They sample culinary selections.

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Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto

They greet the evening.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto

Tomorrow, the sun rises on Senso-ji.

Pixel
The place is one of my favorites in Tokyo because it's a traditional neighborhood."

Nikos

Visited in 2013

Japan's Most Popular Park: Ueno Park

Taito Goto

If Asakusa and Ueno are filled with narrow streets and cramped homes, it may simply be to make room for Japan's favorite green space, the expansive and elegant Ueno Park.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto

Home to the Ueno Zoo (a source of pride for its distinction as one of the first zoos to care for a panda), several museums including a Shitamachi museum, and a beguiling lotus pond, Ueno Park attracts visitors the world over.

Taito Goto

During cherry blossom season, it even attracts all-day campers who stake out the best views of the blooms.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto

Ueno Park's outdoor patios and indoor snack stalls provide traditional tastes of Japan.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto

Share the park with Tokyo locals and international travelers alike.

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Share a photo.

Taito Goto

Share a laugh.

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Share a tree.

Pixel
Ueno Park which is absolutely beautiful and has a zoo and many museums to see."

Tokyo's Connection to Northern Japan

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Once the terminus for all trains arriving from north of Tokyo, Ueno Station is still a commuter's hub for the comings and goings of northern inhabitants.

Taito Goto

Activity buzzes around the station's plaza.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Pixel
The Asakusa station is a small hub station that will take you anywhere in Tokyo. 5 minutes to Akihabara and Ueno, 15 minutes away to Ginza and Tsukiji, 30 minutes away to Roppongi, Omotesando, Harajuku, Shibuya, and Shinjuku."

Japan’s Oldest Amusement Park: Hanayashiki Carnival

Taito Goto

Japan's pocket-sized amusement park remains an big source of childhood entertainment.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto

Roller-coasters and carnival treats tempt children between the ages of 1 and 100.

Taito Goto

A Time to Celebrate: Asakusa Sanja Festival

Taito Goto

Asakusa commemorates Tokyo's indigenous spirituality, or Shinto, with annual Shinto festivals.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto
Taito Goto

Over the third full weekend in May, the Asakusa Sanja Festival is held in honor of the three founders of Senso Shrine.

Taito Goto

It commemorates the Tokyo of generations passed and celebrates the Tokyo of today.

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Shinto believers shoulder mikoshis through Asakusa's streets.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto

They work together to hoist and carry the divine vehicle, often chanting rhythmically as they walk.

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Here's to blessings, luck, and prosperity in your year to come.

Pixel
Asakusa became a favourite part of Tokyo after staying here."

Elliot

Visited in 2013

After Dark In Asakusa and Ueno

Taito Goto

Unlike Shibuya and Shinjuku, Asakusa and Ueno feature a nightlife focused on small gatherings and neighborhood spaces.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto

Lanterns light the evening as palm readers divine in plazas.

Taito Goto

The Sumida River shines brightly.

Taito Goto
Taito Goto

The streets glow softly.

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The pace relaxes.

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Neighborhood watch.

Photography

Airbnb works with local photographers to capture the spirit of neighborhoods all around the world. The photography on this page includes work by:

Masaru studied Photography at Parsons The New School for Design in NYC. He has 25 years experience photographing social and human rights issues in Asia and South America. After spending many years abroad, he has begun to focus on his own country of Japan. He established Reminders Photography Stronghold in Tokyo in 2013, a curated membership gallery making multi-photographic activities possible. His photographs have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek Japan, and many others.

Masaru Goto

View website »

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