The Hagoita-ichi Fair takes place at Senso-ji Temple every December. It is all about good luck in the upcoming new year.
From December 17 to 19, 2018 the Senso-Temple grounds turn into a market. Vendors set up their stalls near the Main Hall, all selling good luck items called Hagoita. Hagoita or battledores are shaped like long slim paddles with a rectangular top. Originally, these were paddles used to play a game called Hanetsuki. Imagine a game simlar to badminton. And as you play and the paddles hit, they are hitting away bad luck. That is why the Hagoita are known as auspicious good luck items.
The market has a long history and the Hagoita sold today are not meant for playing. They are highly decorated and purely ornamental. Take a look around the market and see how different the designs can be. You can find Hagoita showing Kabuki actors in elaborate costums or beautiful women in kimono made to look like they have stepped out of old Japanese woodprints. Others designs show celebrities and personalities that have been popular this year. You might find representations of sumo wrestlers, comedians, actors, anime characters, or mascots. This year we will probably see Hagoita adorned with the two new mascots of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
This is a very popular and lively event that brings together tradition and modern culture. Hagoita come in various sizes. There are small ones that will fit into your luggage but also large ones that will make an impact in any house. Even just taking a look at the lucky items and their design is worth a visit. Come check out this year´s market and maybe get a Hagoita for yourself to welcome good luck and drive away the bad.
While you are here, also check out the food stalls. Street food is always a big part of festivals in Japan. You could also try the sweet treats that are sold at Senso-ji Temple`s Nakamise Street while you walk up towards the Main Hall from Kaminarimon Gate.
Have fun at this colorful event and get ready for 2019 with lots of good luck.