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Tokyo Getaway: Asakusa Temple

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Every time I am in Tokyo, I make it a point to visit the Sensoji temple at Asakusa. I don’t exactly know what is it about this place that draws me to it but a trip to Tokyo doesn’t seem complete without me going there.

For some folks, it could be a compulsory visit to Tsukiji market to eat a plate of sashimi or sushi for them to feel that their trip to Tokyo is complete. For others, it might be a visit to the Tokyo Tower.

Me, it is Asakusa. Specifically, the Sensoji temple.

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Every time I visit the temple, I tell myself that THIS WILL DEFINITELY BE MY LAST VISIT! I am never going back again!

Because the place is so touristy, the crowds make me dizzy, and the incense smoke annoys me.

But I still go back time and again.

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^ I can think of one reason why I like to visit the Sensoji temple.  The Nakamise-dori shopping street. It is a stretch of small shops leading to the temple which sells souvenirs like the Maneki Neko, touristy knick-knacks and Japanese snacks.

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I am always on the look-out for cute Japanese clay figurines of animals in the Zodiac signs and traditional wooden Japanese dolls. And these things can be found at Nakamise-dori.

I love browsing in these shops, looking through the piles of wares on display and wondering if I might find something interesting or silly to bring home or as gifts for friends and family.

Fridge magnets, the odd postcard, floral-printed pouches, Japanese clay figurines, dolls, etc. You never know.

Notwithstanding the touristy-ness of the place, I enjoy soaking myself in the atmosphere of street shopping and people watching. I like the bustling vibe of the place which is a different sort from the other places such as Shinjuku, Shibuya or Harujuku.

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However, the shop-owners in this shopping street are some of the most unfriendly Japanese whom I have encountered in Japan. Glares, curt remarks, bad attitude, etc. I don’t even understand why I patronise some of these shops when the people running them are so un-welcoming.

But I still have to go back to Sensoji temple during my next visit to Tokyo because I have not tried agemanju, the famous fried azuki bun sold at a stall near the temple.

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