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Celebrating Luck and Prosperity: Tori-no-Ichi Market in Asakusa



2023.10.26 (Thu)

By Dan Lewis, inbound tourism adviser and consultant, long-term Japan resident & outdoor activity enthusiast.

Tori-no-ichi, also known as the Rooster Market, is a vibrant festival-like market held at Asakusa Ohtori Shrine and Chokoku-ji Temple. Rooted in centuries of tradition, this event carries a deep significance in Japanese culture, symbolizing prayers for good luck and prosperity.

Originating in the Edo period, Tori-no-Ichi is an annual celebration observed at temples and shrines associated with birds. The rooster, one of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs, holds a special place in this tradition. This year, the festivities occur on November 9th and 21st, aligning with the two occurrences of the Day of the Rooster.

Asakusa’s Rooster Fair stands out as one of the most renowned and bustling rooster fairs. The festivities commence with the rhythmic beat of the first drum at midnight on the designated days, continuing throughout the day. Stalls adorned with brightly colored lucky rakes, believed to bring good fortune, create a lively and vibrant atmosphere.

At Tori-no-Ichi, the area is transformed into a resplendent display of rakes and lanterns, creating a spectacular sight, especially when illuminated at night. The sale of these symbolic rakes constitutes a significant aspect of the festive market. These rakes, resembling eagle talons, are seen as powerful tools to 'grab hold' of good luck, embodying the spirit of seizing opportunities for prosperity.

The Ohtori Shrine and Chokoku-ji Temple offer a variety of rakes, each with its unique meaning and purpose. From prosperity in business to love for the youth and family safety, these talismans cater to diverse aspirations, ensuring there is something for everyone.

Asakusa’ Tori-no-Ichi Market is not merely a cultural event, but a testament to the enduring traditions that shape Japanese society. It serves as a bridge between the old and the new year, emphasizing the continuity of time and the importance of prosperity in daily life. In these vibrant celebrations, one can witness the convergence of history, spirituality, and community, making Tori-no-Ichi a cherished and meaningful tradition for generations to come, where past traditions find their crow-ing achievement.

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