When I first arrived in Tokyo one the first places I visited was the Sensoji Temple and Asakusa shopping district. I really wasn’t that impressed with the place. The shops on the main shopping drag were all filled with such kitsch I couldn’t believe that this was the best of what the area had to offer.
Now, so many years later I have some what reconciled my dislike of the neighborhood and have turned it into a love. The way to really enjoy this neighborhood is to stay away from Nakamise (Shopping Street) and hit the backstreets. Let yourself get lost among some of the tightest alleys I have seen in Japan. Also once you get aways from the bustling tour groups and the rickshaw hustlers the streets are rather quiet. The shops also sell such quality handmade items.
I discovered a traditional Japanese silversmith shop today. They had amazing silver hammered sake cups and the accoutrements for the tea ceremony. It was one of the few times I wish I had a greater cash flow to be able to afford such skillful work. Another shop I found today was a traditional brush maker. They did sell a few hairbrushes, but most of what they sold was for cleaning. All made by the shop and most made of renewable materials. I was thrilled to look at bath scrub brushes, calligraphy pens, and body scrubbers.
I never know quite the path I will walk when I step off from the station. I let my inner self guide me. The more wrapped around lost I get the more treasures I will unearth.