Asakusa (浅草) is a town in the Taito Ward of Tokyo. It was the only down town area long before World War II, before Shinjuku and Shibuya became such important centers of business and commerce. Taito Ward is a part of the old "Shitamachi" or low town. This was the area of merchants and artisans who not only were lower in social standing, but the area was lower physically towards the shores and banks of the Sumida river and the surrounding areas. Asakusa's landmark, Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Kannon Temple) is the center of the area and a hugely popular destination for both Japanese and foreign tourists.
The Asakusa area is dotted with old cafes, bookstores, theaters, and shopping districts... walking around Asakusa gives you some idea about what Tokyo used to be like before the skyscrapers and neon of Shinjuku and other areas took over the city.
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