By: Hannah Kreiswirth
With our trip to Japan coming to an impending close soon, many students (including myself) were rushing to find the time to complete our research papers before heading back home. Thankfully, however, I was able to find time to do some sightseeing and much-needed shopping before I secluded myself in the nearby Starbucks to begin working.
A group of friends and I decided to visit the Asakusa district of Tokyo. Located in the less skyscraper dense area of northeast Tokyo, Asakusa is known for its representation of more historical aspects of Japanese culture as well as its touristy nature. Streets were lined with kimono shops, stands that displayed a multitude of different types of omamori (charms used to bring forth good luck or fortune), and stores that sold any type of typical Japanese souvenir one could imagine.
Our group made our way down to Sensō-ji, the main attraction of the Asakusa area. Sensō-ji consists of two main gates that lead the way to the main building of the temple, with each structure sporting the temple’s famous gigantic red lanterns. The path towards Sensō-ji was packed with those who had come to witness the intricate beauty and famed splendor of the famed temple itself. While my stay in Japan has felt more of a dream than a reality at times, witnessing the magnificence of Sensō-ji has reminded me once again of the sheer grandeur of this country.
After visiting Sensō-ji, I headed out to do some shopping for myself. One of the things I had been looking forward to the most during my visit to Tokyo was to go to the Studio Ghibli store situated in Tokyo Station. As a lifelong fan of the films of Studio Ghibli, being able to visit the official store was a dream come true. Despite the small size of the shop, I spent a large amount of time in the store and unregretfully an equally large amount of money on merchandise. The decoration and the aesthetic of the store I thought perfectly captured the calming, serene charm that accompanies many Studio Ghibli films.
To end my day of sightseeing one of the most symbolic places in Japan, I went to go eat at probably the most un-Japanese restaurant I could have chosen. Savoy Pizza is an intimate shop where only twelve customers at a time are allowed to take a seat at an L-shaped bar surrounding a single pizza oven. The menu consists of only two types of pizzas to choose from: marinara and Margherita. Despite the limitedness of choices, however, Savoy boasted one of the best pizzas I have ever had in my life. The perfected simplicity of the pizza is what really won me over, where everything down to the tomato sauce tasted as if it had been masterfully prepared.
Though the time I have had to do sightseeing in Tokyo has been limited, I am so ecstatic that I have been able to experience so much of this city’s unique culture. From ancient temples to small pizza joints, I feel that I have done it all.