Getting to visit Japan is one of the best experiences you can encounter in your life as a traveler. If you are planning to visit, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a world that’s brimming with both historical culture and mass modernization.
But even at this time, Japan has still kept up with its old traditions, in many cases, through the hundreds of festivals all over the country. Getting to experience a festival in Japan up close is surely something to remember and if you’d like to get the chance, then this year’s Sanno Festival is a good place to start!
The history of the Sanno Festival dates back to the early Edo Period where the shogun attended the festival and permitted the public, as well as the portable shrines and festival floats, to enter the grounds of Edo Castle. The Sanno Festival was once one of the largest festivals in Edo along with the Kanda Matsuri and the Fukagawa Festival and it takes place in even-numbered years.
The festival runs for more than a week this year on June 7th until the 17th. For the course of 11 days, the festival will have a variety of events that you can take part in without getting bored! Some of these will include the Sanno taiko drums, the Japanese performing arts called kagura hayashi, a Japanese traditional Shinto dance which is accompanied by Japanese orchestral music, and other entertainment.
Hie Shrine is the host of the Sanno Festival. At the shrine, a large straw ring can be seen at the center of the shrine grounds. It has been said that walking through the straw ring is an act of purification, which the visitors to Hie Shrine can take part in.
But the main attraction and highlight of the festival is the parade that runs for 9 hours coursing through central Tokyo. The parade begins and ends at Hie Shrine. Since some roads have to be closed due to the festival parade, the parade may have been scaled down in order to avoid traffic, but still consists of more than 500 people with moderate sized floats for the procession including the three portable shrines where the gods are carried around the city.
The parade will arrive at the Imperial Palace before noon and will stop there for a certain period for the religious ceremony of the portable shrine. There, the chief priest will offer a prayer to the emperor and the imperial family.
If you are a traveler looking for a great time and experience in this beautiful country, then seeing a well-known festival is certainly something you should try. The highlight parade will be on June 10th so if you happen to be in Tokyo for the festival’s duration, make sure you drop by and see it for yourself!