Asakusa is, undeniably, a popular district in Tokyo. It continues to be a popular place for entertainment in the city as well. There are many historical spots and festivals for residents and tourists to enjoy throughout the year. Here are two of the lively festivals you can join in the area.
Sanja Festival or Sanja Matsuri is an annual festival that takes place over the third full weekend in May. This is considered to be one of the largest and most exciting festivals in Asakusa. This is held in honor of the three founders of Sensoji Temple: Hinokuma Hamanari, Hinokuma Takenari and Hajino Nakatomo. The atmosphere during the festival is charged and energetic. The festival features about a hundred mikoshi (portable shrine) which enshrines the Shinto gods and are paraded on the streets to bring good luck to residents and businesses.
Around the streets of Asakusa and all throughout the festival, smaller mikoshi can bee seen, though the focus is mainly on the three larger mikoshi belonging to the Asakusa shrine. For the entirety of the festival, the area is packed with food stalls as well as festival games which add to the lively atmosphere.
The Samba Festival, also known as “Samba Carnival,” is more often associated with Brazil than Japan. This tradition of sorts has been happening in Asakusa for about 30 years. It is held annually on a Saturday towards the end of August. The main event of the festival is the samba parade contest. It has been attracting about 500,000 sightseers who fall under the spell of passionate rhythms of the samba.
About 3,500 lovers of samba join together with samba teams from Brazil to form the event. About 30 to 40 samba groups parade along the streets of Asakusa. These teams compete with each other for the most spectacular dance performance. Costumes are loud and eye-catching. They come in beads and plumes of all colors which also provides a visual feast.