Iconic Asakusa shopping street in danger after local government calls for evictions

The shops have launched a petition.

Matthias Ang | June 10, 2021, 06:21 PM

One of Asakusa's most famous shopping streets located between the Sensoji Temple and Denboin Temple is in danger of disappearing as a results of calls by the local government to evict the street's stores, Japanese media Soranews24 and Tokyo Shimbun reported.


Known as Denboin-doori, the street is largely famous for their traditional Japanese souvenirs, and "Edo-era style" buildings.


Government disputes shopkeepers' claims of prior agreements

According to the local Japanese administration of Taito Ward, a total of 32 shops lining Denboin-doori are supposedly illegal establishments occupying public land as they were never given permission to open.

The shopkeepers, for their part, have claimed that they were given permission over 40 years ago, to establish themselves, without the obligation pay rent or taxes.

However, the government does not have any record of such agreements.

A local official was also quoted by Tokyo Shimbun as saying that the shops appeared to have been approved for only "one generation."

Shops have launched a petition over the matter

In the meantime, the Association for Business Prosperity on Asukusa Denboin-doori has launched a petition in order to make their case for staying on, with the goal of eventually submitting the petition to the government of Taito Ward.

Soranews further highlighted that the petition has collected over 7,000 signatures with locals in the area voicing their concern that the eviction of the stores would lead to a loss in culture and history.

The Chairman of the Association added, "As a member of the shopping district, I have supported the development of Asakusa and paid income tax as its sole proprietor. If there are no stores, I will lose my livelihood."

Top photo via Unsplash