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May is Matsuri time in Tokyo – Sanja Matsuri and other local festivals are coming up


2019.05.09 (Thu)

This month the new imperial Reiwa era began in Japan and now Tokyo is getting ready for the first Matsuri of this era, the big and small festivals that are celebrated throughout the city. In Asakusa streets and buildings are already decorated for this year’s Sanja Matsuri.

Local matsuri are the perfect way to experience a little bit of traditional Japan. See people dressed in traditional outfits, listen to the festival music played on drums and flutes, and try all the typical street foods that are part of the fun and celebrations. Expect shrines and surrounding streets to be crowded with visitors and full of Yatai food stalls.

Sanja Matsuri 2019 - March, 17-19

Asakusa Shrine’s Sanja Matsuri is one of the most famous and biggest festivals to take place in Tokyo. More than a million people come to Asakusa each year for the festivities. Sanja Matsuri details:

Friday: Daigyoretsu Parade through Asakusa with the performance of traditional music and dance. The parade is schedule to begin at 13:00 in the area behind the Main Hall of Senso-ji Temple, two streets up from Kototoi-dori Street. The course leads the parade down the street along the side of the temple grounds on the Sumida River side, then to the Kaminari-mon Gate and from there through Nakamise Street up to Asakusa Shrine, arriving around 14:00. The Binzasara-mai dance will be performed near the shrine at 14:20 and 15:00. The parade might be canceled in case of rain.

Saturday: About 100 Mikoshi from the 44 participating neighborhoods of the area are carried through the neighborhoods all day. In each Mikoshi, Shinto deities called Kami are symbolically placed in a ceremony. When they are paraded through the streets they bring good fortune to the local area and its residents. At 16:00 Bujo dance and at 17:00 the shrine maiden's ceremonial dance will be performed at the Kagura-den stage of Asakusa Shrine.

Sunday: The three main Mikoshi – one for each of the three founders of Senso-ji Temple who are enshrined at Asakusa Shrine - leave Asakusa Shrine in a ceremony called Miyadashi starting from 6:00. Then they are paraded through the different neighborhoods from 7:30 with the residents taking turns to carry them each for a portion of a specified route. The Mikoshi will return to Asakusa Shrine for the Miyairi ceremony at 19:00, 19:30, and 20:00. At the shrine’s Kagura-den stage the Binzasara-mai dance will be performed at 14:00 and Buyo dancing at 15:00. At 16:00 Japanese taiko drums will be played at the shrine.

More about Asakusa Shrine and the Sanja Matsuri

For local information and guidance visit the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center located in front of the Kaminari-mon Gate.

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