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In Step with Tradition: The Shoe Megumi Matsuri Market at Tamahime Inari Shrine



2023.11.16 (Thu)

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

The Asakusa area has a lot to offer; historic temples like the classic Senso-ji Temple, great views of modern sites like the towering Tokyo Skytree, and fun shopping districts like Nakamise Shopping Street, but there is one festival market that is a shoe-in as a top attraction!

The 49th Shoe Megumi Matsuri Market is held at the Asakusa Tamahime Inari Shrine in Taito Ward, Tokyo. This distinctive festival is proudly sponsored by the Ujiko (shrine visitors) and shoe manufacturers associated with the shrine, serving as a heartfelt expression of gratitude for the countless shoes crafted over the years. Tamahime Inari Shrine stands out as a rare sanctuary in Japan dedicated specifically to shoes, infusing an intriguing cultural element into the festivities.

Taito City in Tokyo is known as the largest producer of leather goods in Japan, making it the perfect setting for this leather-focused festival. During the festival days, the streets around the shrine come alive with the parade of shoe mikoshi and mikoshi, portable shrines dedicated to shoes. More than 100,000 leather products, including men's and women's shoes, belts, wallets, and small leather goods, will be on sale at remarkably reduced prices, ranging from 60% to 90% off.

In a heartwarming gesture, participants can also bring their cherished old shoes to be offered in prayer for the well-being of their feet.

This year's competition centered around the utilization of recycled leather, with the final judging of entries from across the country set to be announced during the festival on Saturday, November 18. Moreover, the festival will highlight the esteemed Japan Shoes Best Dresser Award in the "Craftsman" category, acknowledging accomplished students and craftsmen who have made noteworthy contributions to the industry.

With its blend of cultural significance and exciting shopping opportunities, the "Shoe Megumi Matsuri Market" promises to be a highlight of Asakusa's attractions. Don't miss this unique experience that celebrates both the art of leather craftsmanship and the comfort of well-fitting footwear. Head over to the Tamahime Inari Shrine and join in the festivities!

Event Date: November 18-19, 2023
Location: Tamahime Inari Shrine

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