What To Do Around Sensoji: 11 Things To Do & See (+ Map)


We loved our stay in Asakusa, and spent hours across many days wandering around Sensoji and the surrounding shopping streets. It was our favourite place in Tokyo.

If you’re only here for a short period of time though, it can be a bit overwhelming, so to help we’ve pulled together a list of what to do around Sensoji.

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The Reeves Roamed for 25 days through Japan, taking notes as we went. Our route was based on our typically thorough research, though we also found some surprises along the way. We only write about places we’ve actually been, so you can be confident that the details are first-hand.

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Ben Reeve
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Map of What To Do Around Sensoji

1. Go Inside The Temple

The main attraction of Sensoji is, of course, Sensoji!

The temple is the oldest in Tokyo, dating from 645AD, making it nearly 1,400 years old.

It is an incredibly popular place to worship, but the inside is available for anyone to see.

The main hall is heavy with tradition and spirituality, and is surprisingly loud, with the shaking of metal tins for fortunes and the tossing of coins and clapping of hands by worshippers. This was the first major temple we visited in Japan and remained our favourite, a staggering place.

2. Shop Nakamise-dori Street

nakamise dori shopping street in tokyo
The crowded streets of Nakamise Dori | What to do in Sensoji

Nakamise-dori Street dates back to the 17th century, and is a busy, traditional Japanese shopping street selling everything from souvenirs to strawberries on sticks (yep, they seemed to be on trend when we visited).

It can get incredibly busy, but if you visit later in the day, the tour buses tend to have moved on, and the street is wonderfully lit up for the evening.

3. Wander Yogodo Hall Gardens

a small girl looking at carp over a stone bridge in sensoji tokyo
Grace looking at the carp in the peaceful Yogodo Hall Gardens | What to do in Sensoji

These beautiful gardens are just to the side of the Sensoji main hall, and are peaceful, despite the crowds.

Look down off of the bridges to see shoals of coy carp looking up in the hope of food.

4. Buy Some Good Luck

a small girl holding up a yello fortune in tokyo
Grace with her new luck charm | What to do in Sensoji

The stalls that line the main walkway to Sensoji, sell charms, each with a different purpose, ranging from good fortune in business, to staying safe on the roads.

We opted for some good fortune, as my little girl had been ill since we arrived, so we were hoping this got her back to full health quickly.

5. Cleanse Yourself With Incense

people surrounded in incense smoke at sensoji in tokyo
The huge Jakoro filling the air with smoke | What to do in Sensoji

One of the focal points at Sensoji, is the Jokoro, a large earthenware incense burner near the front steps.

You can purchase incense sticks at surrounding stalls, then put them into the Jokoro to add to the incense. It is believed the incense cleanses the skin and has healing properties.

6. Marvel at Tokyo Skytree

tokyo skytree
Tokyo Skytree towers over Sensoji | What to do in Sensoji

The Tokyo Skytree is the largest tower in the world, and given it’s in the next district, it’s hard to miss from Sensoji.

The contrast here of new and old Tokyo is an especially beautiful sight.

7. See the Statue of Uryu Iwaku

a statue of a lady, uryu iwaku in tokyo
The magnificent statue of Uryu Iwaku | What to do in Sensoji

There are lots of statues around Sensoji, but in my opinion, the most beautiful of them is of Uryu Iwaku, located in a small area opposite Awashimado Hall.

Uryu Iwaku lived in the 1800s, and devoted her life to helping orphans, and building hospitals. She was the first woman to win the Blue Ribbon Medal of Honor, which is awarded by the Emporer of Japan to people who have made a significant contribution to public welfare.

I loved this little statue, even more so once I read her story, so I had to put in on my list of the best things to see around Sensoji.

8. Visit the Hidden Hikan Inari Shrine

a stone temple in tokyo, hikan inari
The lesser known Hikan Inari Shrine | What to do in Sensoji

You’re only likely to get to the Hikan Inari Shrine if you seek it out, as it is behind the Asakusa Shrine and off the usual walking routes around the Sensoji area.

The story behind it is beautiful. After his wife got ill, Shinmon Tatsugoro a fireman from the local area headed to Tokyo to pray at the Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto (the famous shrine with the hundreds of Tori gates that you’ve probably seen on photos of Japan). After his wife recovered, he built his own Inari shrine behind Asakusa Shrine.

Inari in Shinto mythology is a fox who protects crops, which is why there are foxes guarding the entrance at this shrine.

Hikan Inari is one of the few shrines in the area that survivied the bombings of 1945, and is in its original 1854 condition.

9. Get Dressed Up

two japanese ladies, one holding an umbrella, both looking at an iphone in sensoji, tokyo
Two ladies in kimono check out their latest selfie | What to do in Sensoji

You’ll see lots of people in rented kimono around Sensoji, having their photos taken in front of the temples.

If you want to do the same thing, it is not only allowed, but actually encouraged for tourists to dress up in the kimono, as it’s seen as sharing Japanese culture which other nations.

If you want some memorable photos too, there are also a number of companies who you can book a photoshoot with around Sensoji.

10. See Ancient Buddha Statues

two huge buddha statues near sensoji in tokyo
The two huge Buddha statues near the entrance of Sensoji | What to do in Sensoji

The two huge Buddha statues near Senoji were put there in 1678, and miraculously survived the American bombings in the war, and remain in their original location.

The statues were commissioned by a businessman who’d been taught his skills by a local Asakusa merchant. When the merchant died, the businessman had the statues put up in his honour.

They are a striking sight, especially at sunrise and sunset.

11. See the 6am Bell at Benten-dō

the bell at benten dō in tokyo
The 6am bell | What to do in Sensoji

Benten-dō Hall is on a little hill just outside the main Sensoji area, and was reconstructed in 1983.

Beside it, in a wooden belfry is a huge bell, which is rung by a priest from Sensoji at 6am every day.

the reeves family picture

AUTHOR – BEN REEVE

Reeves Roam, is a first-hand travel blog. The Reeves have lived in the UK, South Africa and Australia and have travelled extensively in Europe and Southeast Asia.

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Thanks – Ben, Becca and Gracie

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