Famous Kabuki Scenes on Shop Shutters
Asakusa has many small shopping streets with old-fashioned cafes and restaurants. Okuyama Omairimachi Shotengai is one of these streets, but it is special. The shutters of the shops here are painted with famous scenes from Kabuki plays. The gallery only reveals itself when shops are closed.
Drama and Entertainment in Asakusa
Asakusa has several Japanese theatres that show classical dance-drama, Kabuki, lighter Taishu Engeki plays, Rakugo storytelling, or Manzai stand-up comedy.
There is a Taishu Engeki theater in the middle of Okuyama Omairimachi Shotengai. If you are lucky you might see an actor in costume talking to fans or rushing to the back entrance. They look like they just stepped out of a manga or anime.
Red gates with white lanterns mark the beginning and end of Okuyama Omairimachi Shotengai. It runs from behind Senso-ji temple’s pagoda towards the new Don Quijote shop near the Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station.
Visit early in the morning or in the evening when you are near Senso-ji temple.
The Temple at Night
Many tourists visit Asakusa and the Senso-ji temple during the day and it gets quiet in the evening. As one of the major tourist attractions in Tokyo, it is usually quite crowded here, but by the time the shops close in Nakamise-dori between 18:00 and 19:00 most visitors leave. At night, the temple is beautiful.
The Main Hall, the big gates Kaminarimon and Hozomon, and the pagoda are lit up every night until around 23:00. You can walk around and look at all the buildings and statues of the temple now. The doors of the Main Hall are closed at night, but you can still take omikuji fortunes. Additional lanterns are put up on the temple grounds sometimes, for example before New Year.
Nakamise-dori’s Shop Shutters
Even when all the shops in Senso-ji’s Nakamise-dori are closed, walk down this street between the Main Hall and the Kaminari-mon gate. The shutters of the shops are all painted with scenes from Asakusa, including cherry blossoms, fireworks, festivals, and the golden dragon dancing. Take some of your own pictures when you visit.
Visiting Senso-ji & Nakamise
Senso-ji temple is located close to all the Asakusa train stations. Restaurants and bars near Asakusa station are open until late. For a view of the complete temple, go up on the terrace of the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center in front of Kaminari-mon.