Seeing Asakusa as it is today –and has been for the last 50 years- it’s hard to imagine that these few city blocks once packed more action than Paris’ Montmartre, New York’s Broadway, New Orleans’ Bourbon Street and Tokyo’s own Kabukicho combined; even more so that this “once” wasn’t down in the far past but up until WWII.
From the 1950s until today, the bars and clubs moved to Ginza, Roppongi, Shibuya and Shinjuku.Combine this with Yoshiwara to the temple’s north (in the area now called officially “Senzoku Sanchome” but still referred to as “Yoshiwara” by the locals), which was the only state-sanctioned red light district of Edo (i.e. “A city with no night,” and a unique combination of “pray and play,” which made much sense to the free-from-Christian-morals Japanese of the 17The narratives from the Asakusa of those days –some of them even written by members of the Allied Forces occupying Japan from 1945 to 1952- offer a fascinating glimpse in a world filled with restaurants, watering holes, whorehouses, theaters, strip-joints, cabarets, street performers of any conceivable (and often inconceivable) kind, hustlers, conmen, thieves, poets, actors and their fans, eccentrics, geisha, esthetes, musicians, dancers and street peddlers roaming the streets around Sensoji day and night.Asakusa was the home of the first made-in-Japan skyscraper (only 12 floors but by early-20 century standards, this was big! Like most of Tokyo, Asakusa was completely thrashed by the fire-bombings of April 1945 and the Occupation brought changes that affected both the daily and the, ahem, nightly, life of the Japanese.A love hotel is a type of short-stay hotel found around the world operated primarily for the purpose of allowing guests privacy for sexual activities.The name originates from "Hotel Love" in Osaka, which was built in 1968 and had a rotating sign.
Japan is a profoundly paternalistic country, and unevolved attitudes to women still persist.