Osaka’s Toka Ebisu Festival is an annual event that takes place just one week after the city’s New Year’s festivities. It is a celebration that brings together the local spirits and the people of Osaka to participate in various festive activities. The festival is held at the Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, which is known as the center of the festivities.
The Toka Ebisu Festival is colloquially known as Ebessan, and it is a religious ceremony where people offer prayers to the god of commerce, Ebisu, for financial success in the new year. The festival is a significant event for the city’s working masses, as Osaka is known as a merchant town.
One of the highlights of the festival is the parade of 500 people. This vibrant procession makes its way through the streets of Osaka, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the city. The participants in the parade include celebrities, geisha, and the fukumusume, who are the lucky daughters selected as representatives for the festival.
During the festival, the streets surrounding the shrine are filled with yatai stands, offering a variety of Osaka street food. Visitors can indulge in popular dishes like takoyaki, yakisoba, and grilled pork skewers. These delicious treats are a must-try for anyone attending the festival.
Another interesting aspect of the festival is the fukusasa, which are good-luck bamboo branches. These branches are offered to visitors free of charge and are believed to bring good fortune in the new year. It is common to see almost every person in attendance carrying these lucky charms around.
The fukumusume, the women giving out the charms, play a crucial role in maintaining the order and traditions of the festival. These women are carefully selected from a pool of over 3,000 applicants, making the acceptance rate more difficult than most of japan‘s elite colleges and institutions. They can be identified by their traditional eboshi hats, which resemble giant stockings turned upside down.
To reach the Imamiya Ebisu-jinja Shrine, visitors can take the local Nankai-Koya Line from Namba Station, located within Nankai Namba Station, to Imamiyaebisu Station. From there, it is just a two-minute walk to the shrine.
Given the large crowds that congregate around the shrine during the festival, it is recommended to budget at least two to three hours for the journey. The entrance to the shrine may take some time due to the number of people, but the surrounding stalls of food, souvenirs, and charms will provide enough entertainment to keep visitors interested as they slowly make their way forward.
The Toka Ebisu Festival runs from the evening of January 9, known as the Eve of Ebisu, to January 11. The main festivities take place on January 10, with a large parade and the distribution of good luck charms. The 11th is referred to as the “Last Helping of Luck,” offering visitors one final chance to pray to Ebisu. The event takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and it is not unusual to witness hordes of people straggling into the shrine well into the night.
Overall, the Toka Ebisu Festival is a joyous and lively celebration that showcases the spirit and traditions of Osaka. It is a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the local culture, indulge in delicious street food, and pray for financial success in the new year. Whether you are a local or a visitor to Osaka, this festival is sure to offer an unforgettable experience filled with fun and excitement.
Address And Maps Location:
1-6-6-10 Ebisunishi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka-fu