In today's Japan in the Winter series, we take a gander around the Asakusa area - mainly the Nakamise street lined with traditional food and souvenirs.
At the Kaminarimon - entrance to Sensoji Temple .
The giant red lantern on the Kaminarimon gates gets an overhaul done by Panasonic every once in a while and the last renovation took place just recently in November.
This is how the lantern looks like from below - a wooden carving of a dragon.
In Nakamise street, folks can find a load of replicas in smaller scales.
"Daruma" dolls - in Japan we fill in one eye at the beginning of the year and fill in the other one when one has accomplished his/her goals.
"Maneki Neko" decorations.
Japanese "Geta" sandals.
Kewpies with price tags hiding their kewpies...
"Okaki" - a toasted mochi rice cake.
Taiyaki is a baked cake which can come in various fillings like red bean and custard.
An automated Taiyaki baking machine.
More daruma dolls , sensu (fans) and chopsticks.
Food-themed chopstick rests.
Traditional Japanese umbrellas.
More "Sensu" traditional Japanese fans.
Turn your dog Japanese with these chonmage hats.
Japanese pattern collars.
If your dogs fancies wearing clothes (or has no choice) then they may also be interested in these kimono attire.
"Juzu" or Buddhist rosary beads - used during a prayer in Japanese temples and also at butsudan.
Hello Kitty souvenirs.
Ume/tea/sesame seed flavored deep-fried manju - a manju is basically a dough bun stuffed with azuki bean paste.
Japanese masks in all shapes and sizes - some might be good for your 1/3 scale dolls too.
Compact umbrella for ninjas.
Lantern "Fuurin" decorations.
Ghibli, Doraemon and Pokemon plushies.
Loads of hawker stall or "Yatai" out during this time of year.
Takoyaki on grill.
Bananas dipped in chocolate and frostings. Still look obscene to me ^^
Cotton candies wrapped in familiar faces - which one tickles your fancy?
Spit-roasted yakitori, seafoods and veggies.
Buddhist statues with Skytree in the background.
The "Hagoita-ichi" is a traditional market held at Sensouji dating back to the Edo period. It's usually held in December and specializes in Hagoita, which is basically a highly decorated version of a wooden paddle used in a game called "Hanetsuki" .
Although the Hagoita here are used mainly as decorations, you can check out how the Hanetsuki is played in the vid below.
Folks can expect to see tons of open air stalls like these each with their own unique style of Hagoita. The grander the design the grander the damage is to ones wallet.
Some can also be used to display your waifu.
Japanese traditional kites known as "Tako" were also on sale.
"Hina Ningyo" - traditional Japanese dolls.
Barrels of sake offered to the shrine.
"Temizuya" - folks come here to purify themselves with the water before approaching the main shrine.
The smoke from the burning incense is said to bring good luck and many folks can be found trying to wave as much of the smoke towards themselves.
At the offertory box or "Saisen-bako" - folks usually throw in a coin and pray to the gods for another safe year.
Now outside Sensoji Temple past Denboin Street.
This fellow here is also said to bring good luck too if you rub his head which is why its the shiniest part ^^;
Pikachu, Doraemon and Hello Kitty themed lanterns.
Dried Japanese fruits and veggies.
For those interested, here is the pricing table for the jinrikisha around Asakusa.
Owarai geinin prizes.
And this is what some vending machines look like in the area.
The latest menu at McDees - White Cheddar Quarter Pounder/Chicken Fillet.
Hows the Wii U doing in your neck of the woods?
Cat cafes seem to be getting more popular these days - there are two near where I live in Musashikoyama. Inside one of these cafes you would have some beverages and snacks - but you are not allowed to eat the cats - not when anybody is looking anyway.
Anything similar in your neck of the woods?
For more Places to Visit in Japan check out the links below.