On the last Saturday of July the yukatas got out of the closets and headed to a summer festival in Asakusa. Without knowing it, we did the same (without the yukatas, though) and celebrated our first matsuri.
Tokyo Sky Tree on the back.
Walking from Ueno to Asakusa.
Mo’ parking space. The Japanese really know how to use height to their advantage.
Fried food aisle of a supermarket, quite the selection.
After lunch we headed to Ueno and walked to Asakusa. On our way we saw the little streets of Ueno transitioning to Asakusa, and managed to take a peek inside a full Japanese supermarket. The variety and the organization are tremendous. There are many ready to eat food that is delicious and cheap and not many western products.
We saw a couple of serene temples and cemeteries on the way.
Golden statue of a Kappa.
We also passed by Kappabashi-dori, a street known for housing loads of kitchenware stores. Most are generic, but some are dedicated to only towels, others to knives, for example.
We started to stumble on more and more street food stalls — always a good sign of a party about to happen.
A delicious ball of meat, onions and spices, all mashed together and deep fried.
We made a quick pitstop to eat and sit down for a bit when we saw what was coming our way.
Friends chatted while sipping on some cold Asahi beer.
Stores were closing down, only food stalls kept their doors open through the night.
Male and female versions of a yukata (summer kimono, lighter and fresher) are assumedly distinct.
Asakusa was definitely magical, specially when you arrive to the Senso-ji. The shrines, the street food and the locals, the vast majority dressed with yukatas (the summer kimono). We wandered a lot through the tiny streets and couldn’t help but eat and try almost everything.
Entrance to Senso-ji.
Nakamise-dori, the street leading to the temple.
Groups of friends flock the stalls buying little sweets and drinks.
You can tell some couples are official.
Others…not so much.
Little side streets where lots of eating and drinking was going on.
As the sun started to go down, we noticed everybody was sitting down on the floor, on towels, brought from home, and were clearly waiting for something to happen: the matsuri fireworks! Completely by chance, we witnessed one of the most beautiful summer festivals in Tokyo.
Purifying the soul with incense smoke.
Five-story pagoda near Senso-ji temple.
Buddha statuette in a side shrine.
Masses gathered around Senso-ji grounds throughout the day.
Getting some okonomiyaki done.
Miniature okonomiyaki; we’ve had better, but it was good.
The second after, it started pouring down on everybody and we had to depend on a restaurant guy who gave us an umbrella so we could walk to the station, saving at least the cameras from getting wet, because our clothes were a lost cause.
Time to sit down and wait for the show.
The fireworks are simple, but people seem to enjoy themselves beyond just that.
Senso-ji is even more beautiful at night.