Sanja Matsuri (三社祭) or Sanja Festival is one of the three great Shinto festivals in Tokyo held annually for 3 days on the third weekend of May in Asakusa Shrine. The festival is held in honor of Hinokuma Hamanari, Hinokuma Takenari and Hajino Nakatomo, the three men who founded Senso-ji Temple.
Sanja Matsuri is considered as one of the wildest and largest festivals in Tokyo, which welcomes over 2 million visitors in 3 days.
The festival begins on Friday afternoon with Daigyoretsu parade, with a large procession of priests, geisha, musicians and dancers with Edo Period costumes through the neighbourhood of Asakusa.
The festival gets bigger and bigger day by day. On Saturday, it features a parade with carrying over 100 mikoshi (portable shrines) along with traditional music and dance from Senso-ji Temple and Asakusa Shrine to their neighbourhoods. The teams complete each other to be more energetic than others. At the final day of the festival on Sunday, three large-sized main mikoshi join the parade. Each mikoshi weighs approx one ton and cost 40 million yen to construct.
The festival also features the Geisha and taiko (Japanese drum) performances which take place at specific times throughout the weekend.
The festival is chaotic and wild, yet it’s a great opportunity to feel the real vibe of Tokyo’s neighbourhood culture.
Access: Short walk from Asakusa station
Date: 17 to 19 May 2019
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