Asakusa in the morning, peaceful and quiet (Photo: Peter Lin)

Asakusa Shutter Art

Spend the morning in Asakusa viewing traditional art in Nakamise Dori

Asakusa in the morning, peaceful and quiet (Photo: Peter Lin)
Peter Lin   - 2 min read

An early morning in Asakusa offers a completely different experience from the more congested and busy daytime hours after the vendors open their shops. The stores along Nakamise Dori typically are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. As Asakusa is one of the best known tourist spots in Tokyo, it is usually crowded and there is usually little space or quiet to reflect and just observe the scenery. Prior to shop opening or after stores are closed in the evening, Asakusa has a very different feel and one of the unusual finds in the early morning hours is the beautiful shutter art on the shop doors once they are closed.

Known as emaki (picture scrolls), these artworks were created in the 1990's to depict traditional scenes celebrating the Edo period. Seasonal events such as the Sanja Matsuri, scenes from traditional Japan, and historical scenes from Asakusa are displayed. The mural scenes are varied and each one is unique. Professor Ikuo Hirayama and artists from the National University of Fine Arts and Music supervised the creation of the murals as part of the Asakusa Picture Scrolls Project. The intent of the project was to promote and reenergize the Asakusa neighborhood and highlight the history and culture of the area.  The feeling of viewing the murals while strolling down Nakamise is not unlike walking through an art museum.   

Take an early morning trip to Asakusa to see this unique cultural work. There are few visitors at that hour and Sensoji as well as the five story pagoda can be appreciated mindfully.  If you decide to eat breakfast in the area, Pelican Cafe is a great choice.  There are also many great cafes in the area and in nearby Kuramae.  By the time breakfast is finished, the shops along Nakamise Dori will have opened and the more typical liveliness and energy of the area will have returned.

Getting there

Asakusa and Nakamise-Dori is closest to Asakusa station on the Ginza, Asakusa and Tobu Skytree Subway lines.

Peter Lin

Peter Lin @peter.lin

I first visited Japan in 2001 and since then have returned many times. With the efficiency and reliability of its transportation, the graciousness of the people, and the dedication to quality in food and service, Japan has been my standard for modern travel convenience. Every return has reminded...