Decades-old shops kept in families for generations could be shuttered as a result.

The Tokyo neighborhood of Asakusa is a major attraction for both tourists and locals, thanks to the iconic Sensoji Temple and its striking Kaminari Gates, but it’s also known to be a place full of delicious Japanese food, unique hotels, and traditional Japanese-style souvenirs.

Sadly, businesses in the area are in danger of closing, and not just because of the pandemic. Though a huge drop in tourists has resulted in the shops around Sensoji suffering from a huge drop in sales, there’s now a bigger threat on the horizon for shop owners on one Asakusa shopping street: the local government.

Asakusa has many shopping streets, the most famous of which is the street behind the famous Kaminari gates that leads up to the temple, Nakamise-doori, which is filled to the brim with souvenir shops and food stalls. But though shop owners on Nakamise-doori were shocked when the temple raised their rent by 16-fold in 2017, their livelihoods are not the ones in danger by the ward’s government. Rather, those who might be forced into eviction are those along the street that lines the grounds of Sensoji Temple and its neighboring Denboin Temple, Denboin-doori.

▼ Denboin-doori (“Denboin Street”) is written as “Dempoin Street” in Google Maps.

The shops that line Denboin-doori are the epitome of Edo-era Japanese style buildings, and many have operated for decades in the same family. They sell traditional Japanese trinkets and products like fans, hair combs and pins, and clothing, many of which are handmade. They’re a great place for international tourists to find that perfect souvenir or gift for a …continue reading