• Walk under the Thunder Gate into Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist Temple
  • Admire iconic and historical architecture dating back to 941
  • Get lost in a bustling market, lined with traditional red lanterns (chōchin)

A spin around Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, is a treat for any first-time visitor. The temple in Asakusa, a historic riverside neighborhood, was destroyed by bombs and painstakingly rebuilt after World War II. As you pass through the imposing Thunder Gate with its outsize red paper lanterns (go ahead, grab a picture for Instagram), you’ll see Nakamise Dori, a busy street lined with stalls selling everything from sweets to traditional rice crackers and Pokémon toys. All day long, a carnival atmosphere pervades these stalls: kids eating green-tea ice cream (FYI, it’s not okay to walk while eating), families shopping for summer yukata (cotton kimonos), and tourists buying local crafts. If you’re looking for a more unique souvenir, we suggest you find your way to the Tansu-ya shop on one of the small side lanes on your left, about halfway to the temple (you’ll recognize it by its navy-blue sign with white lettering). Inside this unassuming kimono shop (one of several across Tokyo), you’ll be greeted by stacks of exquisite vintage silk kimonos with impossibly intricate handwork and ornate embellishments. The biggest treat: the price tag for a one-of-kind vintage tomesode, or formal kimono, is a mere 5,000 yen (that’s less than $50). That’s the kind of souvenir shopping we can get behind!

​Approaching from Asakusa Station, head straight as you leave, taking the second right turn. This will put you on Nakamise Street; you can’t miss the vivid crimson red of the Thunder Gate. From here, simply follow the busy market stalls until you reach the temple.

SENSOJI: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku; +81-(0)3-842-0181; senso-ji.jp

​​TANSYU-YA: 37-2 Asakusa, 1 Chome, Taito-ku; +81-(0)3-3843-9529; remo178.wix.com/tsytyo