Asakusa has been busy getting ready for the big Sanja Matsuri. Many streets are lined with lanterns put up for the festival. And the different neighborhood associations of Asakusa are now preparing to take out their mikoshi (portable shrines). The celebrations on each day are different. Here is what you can expect to see this weekend.
Sanja Matsuri - May 19-21, 2017
The area around Asakusa Shrine is at the center of this big festival. On Friday you can see the Daigyoretsu Parade with participants in colorful traditional costumes, music and dance. Starting at around 13:00 (canceled in case of rain) on the street outside and then walking towards Asakusa Shrine and Sensoji Temple.
On Saturday many local residents join the festival. About 100 mikoshi of the different parts of Asakusa come to the shrine for purification in the morning and are carried through the streets all day. People play traditional music on drums and flutes. Many neighborhoods have small mikoshi carried by children and big drums that they pull through the streets.
On Sunday the three main mikoshi of Asakusa Shrine are paraded through the district’s neighborhoods from the morning until they return to the shrine around sunset. Each of the three main mikoshi goes around on a designated route and is carried by the locals of each neighborhood. This is the official festival site with videos and a map of the main mikoshi parade http://www.sanjasama.jp.
This weekend all of Asakusa turns into one big festival. Especially on Saturday and Sunday it gets crowded with the mikoshi and the many participants out on the streets. And there will be many “yatai” food stalls.
It is best to come to Asakusa by train and then walk around. The nearest stations are Tawaramachi and Asakusa. Parking will be very limited. Please note that shops and restaurants may have special opening hours during Sanja Matsuri. Make a reservation in advance.
Also taking place this weekend:
Onoterusaki Shrine Festival May 19-21, 2017 near station Iriya station. http://onoteru.or.jp
Upcoming events in Taito:
May 25, 2017: Gojo Tenjin Shrine Festival.
May 24-29, 2017: Satsuki Festival - Azalea Bonsai Exhibition near the Ueno Park Fountain
May 27-28, 2017: O-Fuji-san no Ueki-Ichi - Potted Plant Fair near Sengen Shrine in Asakusa