One of Tokyo’s biggest and most exciting celebrations is the Kanda Matsuri. This festival dates back 1300 years to the founding of Kanda-jinja Shrine and is celebrated every other year. The festival is centered around Kanda-jinja Shrine, which is located close to Akihabara and Ochanomizu stations. The main parade takes place on the weekend before May 15th and features over 200 floats and portable shrines known as mikoshi.
The Kanda Matsuri is a week-long celebration, but the most lively events occur on the final weekend. On Saturday, the parade travels through the city of Tokyo, stretching from the area near the shrine all the way to Otemachi and Marunouchi in downtown Tokyo. Musicians and priests on horses accompany the floats and portable shrines, creating a vibrant and energetic atmosphere.
Sunday is dedicated to the portable shrine procession, known as Miyairi. During Miyairi, more than 200 portable shrines are carried to Kanda-jinja Shrine. The parade routes extend beyond the shrine, reaching the Nihonbashi area. The streets become packed with crowds as they near Kanda-jinja, creating a bustling and festive atmosphere.
The Kanda Festival has deep historical and cultural significance. During the Edo period, it was celebrated with great fanfare and reverence by the Tokugawa Shogunate. The festival is associated with prosperity and good fortune, and the main shrine, Kanda-jinja, is dedicated to the patron deities Ebisu and Daikokuten, two of the seven lucky gods.
Despite being one of the greatest festivals in Tokyo, the Kanda Matsuri is only celebrated every other year. On even-numbered years, its counterpart, the Sanno Matsuri of Hie-jinja in Nagatacho, takes place in June. Both festivals feature major processions and are highly anticipated by locals and tourists alike.
Attending the Kanda Matsuri requires some preparation due to the large crowds. The festival is held on the weekend before May 15th, and the streets around Kanda-jinja become increasingly packed as the event approaches. It is advisable to check for the latest information about crowds and viewing locations at the nearby stations.
The Kanda Matsuri is not just a religious event but also a shared celebration among the Tokyo community. The festival showcases the rich cultural heritage of the city and brings people together in a spirit of joy and unity. It is a time for locals and visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere, enjoy festival snacks sold throughout the area, and witness the grandeur of the floats and portable shrines.
In conclusion, the Kanda Matsuri is a spectacular festival that celebrates Tokyo’s rich cultural heritage. With its colorful parades, lively music, and vibrant atmosphere, it is an event that should not be missed. Whether you are interested in history, culture, or simply want to experience the energy of a traditional Japanese festival, the Kanda Matsuri is sure to leave a lasting impression. So mark your calendars and join in the festivities of this remarkable celebration.
Address And Maps Location:
2-16-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo-to