A 3-day festival in early summer at Asakusa Shrine
The Asakusa Sanja Festival is a vibrant and lively event that takes place over three days in early summer at the Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo. This festival is considered one of Tokyo’s top three festivals and attracts thousands of visitors from all over japan and around the world. The festival is known for its hundred portable mikoshi shrines, stately parades, and abundance of sake, creating a high-spirited and festive atmosphere.
The festival is held during the third full weekend in May, and each day offers unique and exciting events that showcase the rich cultural traditions of Japan. From the Daigyoretsu Parade on Friday afternoon to the competitive carrying of the large mikoshi on Sunday, there is something for everyone to enjoy and participate in.
One of the highlights of the festival is the Daigyoretsu Parade, which takes place on Friday afternoon. This parade features priests, geisha, and officials dressed in Edo-period costumes, walking in procession from Yanagi-dori Street to Asakusa Shrine. The parade is accompanied by musicians riding on decorated floats, playing traditional flutes and drums. It is a spectacle that transports visitors back in time and showcases the grandeur of Japan’s historical traditions.
Saturday is dedicated to the blessing of the neighborhood mikoshi. Almost 100 mikoshi, portable shrines symbolically housing Shinto gods, are carried out around noon for ceremonies at Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine. The teams carrying the mikoshi then parade through the Asakusa neighborhood, spreading luck and prosperity to their respective neighborhoods. It is a sight to behold, as the vibrant and energetic procession fills the streets with joy and excitement.
On Sunday, the festival reaches its climax as carriers from across the area gather at Asakusa Shrine to compete for the honor of carrying one of the shrine’s three large main mikoshi. This competition can get intense, and for safety reasons, spectators are not allowed through Sensoji’s gates during this part of the festival. The carriers put all their strength and determination into carrying the mikoshi, as it is believed to bring good fortune to Asakusa’s businesses and residents.
Throughout the entire festival, Asakusa is filled with food stalls, festival games, and the lively sounds of traditional drums and flutes. Visitors can immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere, try various local delicacies, and enjoy the performances and entertainment that are scattered throughout the area. It is a celebration of Japanese culture and tradition, and a chance for both locals and tourists to come together and experience the rich heritage of Tokyo.
To get to the festival, most events are centered around Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine, which can be easily accessed by train. Asakusa Shrine is a seven-minute walk from Asakusa Station, served by the Ginza Line, Asakusa Line, and Tobu Railway Line. The mikoshi parade takes place around the entire Asakusa area, allowing visitors to explore and experience different parts of the neighborhood during the festival.
The Asakusa Sanja Festival is a must-see event for anyone visiting Tokyo in early summer. It is an opportunity to witness and participate in the vibrant and lively traditions of Japan, and to immerse oneself in the festive and high-spirited atmosphere of the festival. Whether it’s watching the parades, cheering on the carriers of the mikoshi, or indulging in the delicious food and drinks, the Asakusa Sanja Festival is an unforgettable experience that showcases the rich cultural heritage of Japan.
Address And Maps Location:
2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo-to