Omatsuri Museum

Omatsuri Museum > The omatsuri of downtown Tokyo

The omatsuri of downtown Tokyo

Each of Tokyo’s downtown districts has its festivals and events. A year passes by, together with omatsuri.
Asakusa’s Sanja Matsuri, in particular, is a grand event where Tokyoites have traditionally liberated their body and soul, and had a blast.

Seasonal events related to downtown Tokyo

下町歳時記A wide variety of events are held throughout the year in downtown Tokyo including traditional events that follow ancient rituals, festivals of gallantry, and flower festivals that herald the coming of a season.for more information(in japanese)

Seasonal events related to Asakusa

浅草歳時記All sorts of events are held throughout the year in Asakusa, a town synonymous with omatsuri.for more information(in japanese)

Sanja Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri comes around in May, together with a cool, refreshing wind and the anticipation of the coming summer. It is a grand event held only once a year where the Asakusa locals free their body and soul and burst with energy.

The origin of Sanja Matsuri

Today, Sanja Matsuri is held as the annual festival of Asakusa Shrine. Until the end of the Edo period, however, it was an event of mixed religion where Buddhism’s Sensoji Temple became one with Shinto’s Asakusa Shrine.

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Kanbun Engi picture scroll (from the Sensoji Temple collection).

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crowds gathered to celebrate the Kannon Festival,
a painting depicted in Edo Meisho Zu Byobu (a picture folding screen).

Must-see sights of Sanja Matsuri

Day 1

A grand parade
People line up and parade the streets of Asakusa, reminiscent of colorful and magnificent period pictures. This is Edo at its spectacular best.

A dedication of Binzasara Dance
Binzasara Dance is a dance with an unusual style and format. It was created through a combination of dengaku, said to be the origin of Noh, classical masked musical drama, and shishi-mai, a lion’s dance.
[PHOTO]Binzasara, an ancient musical instrument, is played like an accordion.

Day 2

The grand procession of township mikoshi shrines
Over 100 mikoshi, or portable shrines, from the 44 townships of Ujiko, or shrine parishioners, at Asakusa Shrine, gather inside the plaza behind the main hall of Sensoji Temple. The place is jam packed with numerous mikoshi as well as local mikoshi carriers clad in different festive matsuri costumes, and spectators.
[PHOTO]The mikoshi of various townships parade along the street to create a glitzy and spectacular show.(Kaminarimon Naka-dori Avenue).

Day 3

The miyadashi of Honja Mikoshi
The miyadashi is when the three Honja Mikoshi portable shrines?named Ichinomiya, Ninomiya and Sannomiya?leave the Asakusa Shrine. Groups of male bearers who fill the shrine grounds compete vigorously for the pole.
[PHOTO]Honja Mikoshi placed in front of the Asakusa Shrine pavilion, and lifted high up to show to the shrine priests, the head of the shrine(Miyagashira), and a representative of Ujiko(shrine parishioners).

The three Honja Mikoshi portable shrines that were tossed about for more than an hour by miyadashi, finally join their township's processions.
The three Honja Mikoshi that have toured the towns extensively amid roaring excitement since early in the morning, return to Asakusa Shrine at dawn.
[PHOTO]A Miyairi Dochu to welcome the Honja Mikoshi back to the shrine.
The lanterns that bear the names and crests of each township associations are stunningly beautiful.

for more information(in japanese)

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