The History of Nakamise Dori
Despite being an icon of Tokyo and mainstay of Asakusa tourism, Nakamise Dori has actually had a very tumultuous history. Though the Senso-ji temple was built as long ago as 941 AD, in 1649, the Tokugawa shogunate enlarged it and rebuilt many of the structures. Plus, Tokyo, the shogunate’s capital, became an increasingly important economic and cultural center of Japan.
As a result, by the early 18th Century, many pilgrims were coming to Senso-ji. The shogunate authorized shopkeepers to put shops on the street leading up to it, and thus Nakamise Dori began.
Unfortunately, after the Tokugawa shogunate was overthrown in the Meiji Restoration, the government of Tokyo ordered the shopkeepers to leave. Then, they reconstructed the entire area in brick after the Western-style, which was destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.
The street was rebuilt again in 1925 using concrete, but allied bombings in World War II destroyed all that again. It was finally rebuilt in its current form after the war.