Asakusa-bashi Area


This neighborhood is where they make and sell the amazing doll sets for Girls’ Day and miniature samurai armor for Boys’ Day.

The dolls made in the Asakusabashi district aren’t just decorative; they can countermand curses, heal illness, and (if left out too long after the Doll Festival) delay marriage for daughters in the family. And because they’re sacred, they can’t be thrown away when they get old – they have to be cremated in a special ceremony at a shrine.

These sacred dolls are also works of art, and some sets cost upwards of $10,000.
These dolls are works of art – some sets cost upwards of $10,000. The empress dolls are usually dressed in ju-ni-hitoe, the twelve-layered kimonos that were fashionable in Heian times
In April, armor displays for Boys' Day go on sale.
In April, armor displays for Boys’ Day go on sale.

Here’s what we’ll see walking around the area near the station:

Let’s turn left and walk down the street. We’ll see:

Shimojima, an eight-story store that sell everything from party invitations to Mr. Toast masks. This is a great place to get inexpensive gifts for people back home.

•A doll/seasonal decoration store which always has a display of dolls in glass cases and rotates supplies and decorations for the rest of the year: koi nobori carp flags and armor sets for Boys’ Day (the month before 5/5), and New Years’ decorations (two months before 12/31)

In November and December, that store sells all the pieces you need to make a kado-matsu like this one!
In November and December, the store sells all the pieces you need to make a kado-matsu like this one

Let’s walk to the end of the block and cross the street, then turn back toward the station. On the way, we’ll see:

•Several small doll stores and Kyugetsu (the wide storefront with white lanterns hung all across the top of the big plate glass window). This is a famous “doll department store.”

There are always dolls on display, but the best times to see this neighborhood are:

• Feb: $10,000 Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) displays

• Apr: Koi nobori carp flags and Boy’s Day armor displays.

• Nov – Dec: Japanese New year’s decorations

• Dec: Battledores and glass cases with weapons and armor displays.

Most stores open from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm


While you’re in Japan, read a novel set in Tokyo!

The #1 hostboy at Club Nova makes a handsome living, whispering sweet nothings in the ears of women who pay him a fortune for the privilege. But the party’s over when Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura is assigned to investigate the death of…read more

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