Street Performers, Arts & Entertainment in Asakusa - Local Tokyo

In the shotengai streets near Senso-ji temple

Senso-ji temple is the most famous spot in Tokyo's Asakusa district, but there is more to see. Performers and performing arts are also part of Asakusa’s heritage.

So when you come to Senso-ji and look at the temple’s buildings, statues, and big gates don’t stop there. Please take a walk around the temple grounds with all its buildings and statues and then see more of Asakusa.

As any guidebook will tell you, Asakusa is an old entertainment district that used to have many theaters, offering anything from Kabuki to movies. Most of the theaters are gone now, but a few are still left and especially on the weekends many fun street performers come here. I have seen skilled jugglers, magicians, storytellers, musicians, and living statues here. Others twisted balloons, created street art illusions and pictures, and play characters from Dragon Ball or Japanese oni demons.

A walk in Asakusa will take you through many shotengai - Japanese style shopping streets. Here you can find many old shops still operating. There are small cafes, restaurants, and shops selling traditional clothing and sandals, souvenirs, and snacks. Some of these shops and shotengai streets are decorated to evoke the images of older times.

In these fun shotengai streets you are most likely to find street performers and other arts and entertainment.

Hanayashiki-entertainment-dori: the street on the map going from the top of Senso-ji's pagoda left along tiny Hanayashiki amusement park. Small bars and restaurants here include tasty ramen noodles and sweet taiyaki cakes. At the ninja store here you can register for lessons in the ninja arts taught by ninja performers of Hanayashiki. There is also kimono rental available from several shops here that let you pretend to go back in time. You can see street performers here quite often and if you visit Hanayashiki, you can see performers there stage ninja fighting scenes or small plays with monsters and super heroes.

Rokku Broadway: running down from the JRA building (horse racing association) and the Chaplin figure on the map to the ROX building. Here is the Asakusa Don Quijote store where you can buy everything from sake to makeup and costumes. On the corner opposite Don Quijote is an old theatre for Japanese comedy manzai and rakugo storytelling, the Asakusa Toyokan (浅草東洋館). People still line up for performances everyday and outside the building posters show famous actors and comedians who started their careers here. Another place where some comedians started out is the strip club theater ROCKZA (浅草ロック座) on the other side of the Don Quijote shop. A Manboo Internet and manga cafe is located in the same building, just look for the mark with the yellow fish to find it. Several big complexes are now being rebuilt on this street. Now street performers use the construction site as a backdrop for their improvised stages.

Denbou-in-dori: the street running left to right under the green area of Senso-ji's garden, starting near the ricksha picture. This cute street is decorated in old Edo style. Take a look at Japanese textile prints, old kimonos, and the gate to Senso-ji temple's garden. The Asakusa Public Hall (浅草公会堂) here shows kabuki plays and has a collection of handprints of famous actors in the floor near the entrance. Along the street are sculptures of the five thieves called Shiranami Gonin Otoko from a well-known Kabuki play.

Please enjoy a walk around Asakusa. You cannot really get lost, just continue through the small streets and you are sure to discover a small bar, restaurant or cafe perfect for a break before you continue to explore.

David image



David's other advice

Tokyo walks: Kuramae images

Tokyo walks: Kuramae

Come to Kuramae if you like craftsmanship and things that are made well, things made by hand. And come if you like quality coffee, tea, and chocolate. This is a small neighborhood. It is resident…

Tokyo walks: Asakusa to Kuramae images

Tokyo walks: Asakusa to Kuramae

Walking is a great way to explore Tokyo. Go for a walk and keep your eyes open. Start your walk in Asakusa at the famous red Kaminarimon Gate that marks the entrance to Senso-ji Temple. If you ha…

Quiet Retreat at the Seaside in Setouchi images

Quiet Retreat at the Seaside in Setouchi

Setonaikai is the Japanese Inland Sea and Setouchi City in Okayama Prefecture faces this beautiful part of the coast in West Japan. When you visit Hiroshima or Himeji Castle, extend your trip and spe…

Beautiful Places to Visit in Japan images

Beautiful Places to Visit in Japan

TripAdvisor published a list of 20 beautiful spots to visit in Japan that are not so well known yet. Let this list inspire you when you plan your next trip - there are islands, forests, temples, and …

Mt Fuji Views from Enoshima Island near Kamakura images

Mt Fuji Views from Enoshima Island near Kamakura

Enoshima island is a fun destination for a day trip from Tokyo anytime of the year. You can see the island and its lighthouse from Kamakura further along the Shonan coast.The lighthouse is called…

Fuji Ramen - Fresh Noodles in Tonkotsu Soup images

Fuji Ramen - Fresh Noodles in Tonkotsu Soup

Fuji Ramen in Asakusa serves tasty ramen in tsukemen with tonkotsu base soup and noodles made fresh at the shop.This shop is special because it makes its own noodles. You can see the small worksh…

You might also like

Kintsuba - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa images

Kintsuba - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa

Kintsuba きんつば is one of the Japanese sweets that I like because you can watch them being made. This photo is from a small shop in Asakusa located in the Nakamise-dori shopping street at Senso-ji …

David image


Omikuji - Take Only Good Luck With You images

Omikuji - Take Only Good Luck With You

Omikuji - おみくじ - are fortune papers from temples and shrines that offer advice for your health, career, and good luck in general. There are positive ones - marked kichi 吉 - and negative ones - m…

David image


Difference of IKEBANA and Western floral arrangement? images

Difference of IKEBANA and Western floral arrangement?

When I traveled foreign countries, I found some different customs, cultures, and ideas. It is all new to me and leads me more eager to know its deep culture. I will be frequently asked the differ…

Ami image


Yakimono: Japanese Pottery and Porcelain images

Yakimono: Japanese Pottery and Porcelain

Japanese pottery and porcelain, often referred to as 'Yakimono', is as beautiful as it is useful. It's also one of the world's oldest art forms dating back to the Neolithic period."Yakimono means…

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

The Top 8 Places to Beat Summer Heat in Japan images

The Top 8 Places to Beat Summer Heat in Japan

Where do Japanese love to visit to avoid summer heat in Japan? I searched the top 8 summer resorts loved by Japanese including Furano in Hokkaido, Okinawa, Karuizawa and Hakone, which are famous amon…

Alexlovetravel image


Kaminari-okoshi: Asakusa Thunder Crackers images

Kaminari-okoshi: Asakusa Thunder Crackers

Kaminari-okoshi (雷おこし) are traditional Japanese sweets. Crispy rice is mixed with sugar and syrup, pressed down into a flat shape and cut into squares. Often there are some peanuts mixed into it,…

David image