With many festival events celebrated throughout the year, and even more so in summer, Japan is undoubtedly a country that boasts a large number of exciting and enjoyable summer festivities that continue to draw in crowds from all around the world.
Asakusa is famous for its prime traditional Japanese image and is a popular tourist attraction among local and overseas visitors. Well, for those lucky enough to be in Japan in June, an annual festival is taking place soon to celebrate the Torikoe Shrine in Asakusa.
The Torikoe Shrine (jinja) which holds the Torikoe Matsuri (festival) and is located in Kuramaebashi, is a long-standing shrine with over 1365 years of history since it was built in 651. The shrine was built for Yamato Takeru No Mikoto, Amanokoyano No Mikoto and Tokugawa Ieyasu, the Shinto Gods and the first shogun.
The Torikoe Festival (Matsuri) which is held by the Torikoe Shrine and nearby residents is well known for its portable shrine (mikoshi) and is the biggest highlight of the festival. It is the heaviest mikoshi in Tokyo weighing in at a whopping 4,000 kilograms and named Senkan Mikoshi.
The parade is led by the deity that is in the shape of a long nosed goblin (Sarutahiko), girls wearing men’s kimono (Tekomai dancers), and children bearing flags with five colors. The festival starts at the Torikoe Shrine where all the neighborhood leaders along with the shrine priest gather together to commence the mikoshi for the parade.
The mikoshi leaves the shrine in the morning and returns by night. This is also something that many people look forward to because lanterns that are hung to the mikoshi which always draws in large crowds and was given the name, Night Festival of Torikoe.
The Torikoe Festival takes place on June 11th and 12th and the Torikoe Shrine holds a long history that is treasured by the local residents. So, if you’re here in Tokyo this weekend, go and see the parade! However, be sure to get there early – even as early as 6 in the morning – so you don’t miss out!
Torikoe Shrine Website*Japanese Only