Sanja Matsuri (三社祭) is different. Maybe it’s the 2 million attendees it gathers, maybe it’s the countless mikoshi (portable shrine) they carry, or maybe is the wilder atmosphere. Or perhaps it’s the healthy interest in a portion of its participants: the yakuza (japanese mafia).
But Sanja Matsuri is more than a “Yakuza Festival”, despite of many of the international media trying to put that tag on it. It’s one of the largest Shinto festivals in Tokyo that has taken many forms, dating back as early as the 7th century! It’s a celebration festival in which more than 100 mikoshi are paraded.
These portable shrines are carried by people but also, shaken and bounced vigorously. This action is believed to intensify the power of the gods that are seated in the shrines! By doing this, it’s believed that they will be bringing luck to the businesses and people in the neighborhood.
Sanja Matsuri is more than a “Yakuza Festival”. It’s one of the largest Shinto festivals in Tokyo that has taken many forms, dating back as early as the 7th century!
This matsuri takes place for three days, Friday Saturday and Sunday, on the third weekend of May. The Shrine to which Sanja Matsuri is attached, Asakusa Shrine, is popularly know as Sanja-Sama (Shrine of the Three Gods).
It’s placed in the ever popular Asakusa area, from where you can enjoy gorgeous views of Sumida river, Tokyo Skytree and of course, Senso-Ji.
Aside of the parades, lots of matsuri events take part. Street food, music, taiko drums and even actors in costumes roam the streets during the three days of Sanja festival.
Truly a matsuri to remember! Here’s all the info:
- Dates: 18~20 of May 2018
- Place: Asakusa (closest station is Asakusa).
- Price: Free
- Website: https://www.asakusajinja.jp/sanjamatsuri/schedule/