#4050

Sanja Matsuri/Festival in Asakusa - Summary and report

ABC of Sanja Matsuri Festival - what's it about?

Of all the festivals in Asakusa year around, Sanja Matsuri Festival should be the most famous and the biggest one. If you have a chance, I encourage you to make a plan to see it once, referring to this and other sempai posts listed below.

1-2-3 basics;

Sanja matsuri festival is held every year, the next weekend after Mother's day.

Day 1 (Fri) ; Marching and dancing of egrets / Binzasara dance offering, only 1-3pm.
Day 2 (Sat) ; Portable shrines (Mikoshi) get together at a place, blessed and off they go into the town, from early in the morning till night
Day 3 (Sun) ; Portable shrines (Mikoshi) parade, the peak of the festival. The same time above.

There are some articles already posted by some other Deep Japan Senpai writers, related to Sanja Matsuri Festival;

Sanja Matsuri Omikoshi - Matsuri in Asakusa
http://www.deepjapan.org/a/2863
Sensoji Lantern
http://www.deepjapan.org/a/2967
How to enjoy Matsuri in Shitamachi
http://www.deepjapan.org/a/4023

Day 1 - white crane and Binzasara dances

I was born, grew up, went to schools, work and all my life spent in Tokyo so far but still for the very first time to see this festival this year. Maybe because there are too many festivals all over Tokyo, and everyone has his/her own favorite one in his/her neighborhood. Likewise I've never seen Asakusa one myself.

Basically the portable shrines (Omikoshi) are more or less the same everywhere but I noticed that these dance offerings are unique from here, from Day 1.

Maybe not that elaborate or exciting because they are offerings to the deity of Asakusa shrine, more religious meaning is there. Rather solemn, music is also played with traditional Japanese instruments.

Also since it's on Friday only between noon and 3pm, no wonder less people are there compared to following two days on the weekend.

Yet still there ARE lots of people there in Asakusa Temple / Shrine.....
So allow yourself extra time to walk around.

Day 3 - many portable shrines parades but be ready for scrums!

Certainly not recommended for children. Too crowded to see anything or even breathe.
Lots of people drinking, taking photos, excited, shouting, laughing, total chaos.

You'll get to see lots of portable shrines (omikoshi) from all over Asakusa districts, from early in the morning until early night.

There are agenda, map of parade routes, but nothing really helps ....really crowded and often the time changes. Again chaos.

Back story of this festival --- 70% of the omikoshi carriers are Japanese mafia(Yakuza). Some clear evidence can be seen on their skin......heavy tatoo all over from their shoulders, arms, hips until legs.....this is THE reason why you can't have tatoo to get into public baths or hot spring baths in Japan!

I didn't feel that scary seeing them......it's a fabulous artwork. To be honest, it simply make you say 'Wow'. Note that you should pay an extra attention when you shoot photos though. Some may not feel good about it!

You'll also get to see men without pants even look like if they didn't wear any underwear even --- only Fundoshi, (like thong or Mawashi of Sumo wrestlers) Even I felt awkward to see their bare legs stretching down directly from underneath short Happi coats.

Including all that, it's Tokyo culture over generations and years.
I was really glad to see it finally since I really loved the air, exciting, make me clap hands and beat the rhythm together with them -- ’Essah Hoi Sah'

Zara image

Zara

Japan

Zara's other advice

Samurai battlefield spectacle -tradition over 1000 years - images

Samurai battlefield spectacle -tradition over 1000 years -

Soma-nomaoi (literally means wild horse chase in Soma) is a traditional Shinto ritual and local festival in Soma City, held every July for three days, its history over 1000 years Originally dev…

1920's Japanese life style house images

1920's Japanese life style house

I visited a museum near where I live....retaining the old lifestyle from 1920s. http://www.showanokurashi.com/Even for me who was born and grew up in Japan, it was quite interesting....when I…

Maid Cafe experience images

Maid Cafe experience

Take a sneak peek at Maid Cafe --- yes, I've been curious but not motivated enough much so far.But as a professional Tokyo tour guide, I needed to have the experience before I take guests there. …

Three things to complete your Kawagoe day trip images

Three things to complete your Kawagoe day trip

Visiting the religious place is sometimes hard.... especially that religion is not of yours and not easy to understand. And also for children.I visited too many temples and shrines in my life. So …

The world famous tuna auction that they're talking about images

The world famous tuna auction that they're talking about

Every morning (except for Sundays/Holidays and some Wednesdays) the tuna auction is held throughout the year at Tsukiji, the largest fish market in the world. Tuna is a big red meat fish, the bigg…

Deep crawl at night in Shinjuku - Golden Gai(District) images

Deep crawl at night in Shinjuku - Golden Gai(District)

Which is the best place to visit in Tokyo at night?To experience the local and enjoy the talk with the locals?Well, one has his/her own interest so does other. And Tokyo has so many options …

You might also like

Ningyo-yaki: Little Baked Doll Cakes images

Ningyo-yaki: Little Baked Doll Cakes

Ningyo-yaki (人形焼) is very popular in Tokyo Asakusa where you can watch them being baked. This is one of my favorite Japanese sweets and a very good omiyage gift. Ningyo is the Japanese word …

David image

David

Kaminari-okoshi: Asakusa Thunder Crackers images

Kaminari-okoshi: Asakusa Thunder Crackers

Kaminari-okoshi (雷おこし) are traditional Japanese sweets. Crispy rice is mixed with sugar and syrup, pressed down into a flat shape and cut into squares. Often there are some peanuts mixed into it,…

David image

David

Taiyaki - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa images

Taiyaki - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa

Taiyaki たい焼き are small Japanese cakes that you can watch being baked. The cakes are shaped like a fish and have a sweet filling. The most common taiyaki have sweet bean paste or cream inside. Try…

David image

David

Love Stones at Jishu Shrine in Kyoto images

Love Stones at Jishu Shrine in Kyoto

Jishu Shrine is located near (or I would say within) Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple. Dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking, the love shrine is always crowded with many couples and especially young …

EmiOnishi image

EmiOnishi

Geisha Makeover in Asakusa, Tokyo images

Geisha Makeover in Asakusa, Tokyo

You might know about Geisha, who is a female entertainer, trained in the traditional arts, singing and dancing, and serves as a party companion and hostess. Maiko is an apprentice of Geisha. In Asak…

skymaho image

skymaho

Kintsuba - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa images

Kintsuba - Japanese Sweets in Asakusa

Kintsuba きんつば is one of the Japanese sweets that I like because you can watch them being made. This photo is from a small shop in Asakusa located in the Nakamise-dori shopping street at Senso-ji …

David image

David