Mitama Matsuri is one of the biggest Obon festivals in Tokyo. It gathers thousands of people that come to Yasukuni Shrine to eat, dance and enjoy the impressive 30.000 yellow lanterns. It really is a beautiful thing to see!
Originally held first in 1947, Mitama Matsuri is an event to pray for and honor the dead from the war. During the Summer, many of festivals are meant to honor Japan’s dead, for example Toro Nagashi.
Yasukuni Shrine is a politically interesting shrine. It’s considered a symbol of respect for the war criminals now enshrined there, such as Hideki Tōjō, thought to be responsible for the attacks to Pearl Harbor. Yasukuni Shrine sometimes appears in international news outlets if a political figure chooses to make an appearance there. Let’s just say that every public appearance at Yasukuni is charged with a lot of meaning.
Yasukuni Shrine is a politically interesting shrine as well. It sometimes appears in international news outlets if apolitical figure chooses to make an appearance there.
Aside from the particular history of Yasukuni, Mitama Matsuri is a colorful celebration. There are countless Japanese arts shown there as mikoshi parades, traditional dance performances and even concerts. We really enjoyed the food, drinks, music and the incomparable display of chochin (Japanese paper lanterns) that made the evening truly magical.
Mitama Matsuri happens around mid July. This was my first time attending and I enjoyed it a lot despite the relentless heat and huge crowds.
Here’s all the condensed info:
- Mitama Matsuri
- Where: Yasukuni Shrine, 靖国神社, Chiyoda, Tokyo,
- 13th to 16th July.
- Attendance is free.