Sanja Matsuri: The Shrines’ Parade

By Marcela Cofre

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Sanja Festival, which takes places every third weekend of May. My friends and I decided to go on Sunday, since it is the last and most important day of the festival. As expected, it was completely crowded even before we left Asakusa station.

From the moment you leave the station, you can feel the festival’s atmosphere. Immediately, we were able to spot all the small shrines or “mikoshi” along the way while they were being carried by the Japanese helpers from the festival.

First, we headed to Senso-ji to spot the main part of the festival and, of course, it was so full of people, it was hard to get through!

Especially when people are taking pictures of cute cats at the entrance…

Once inside, we walked all the way to the main temple at the end of the path, where people gathered to get a better view of the three main shrines that would be carried there.

After that, we took a walk alongside the main streets to check out other smaller “mikoshi” being carried and to take in the setting, which was full of food stalls and festival games.

Even the little kids had their own “mikoshi” to carry along and bless the neighborhood.

The festival was definitely a wonderful experience full of small celebrations happening in all the little streets around us. It was easy to spot all the “mikoshi” being carried around and all the people who were there for the celebration.

The view of Tokyo Sky Tree from our spot was also amazing! Visiting one of the three main festivals in Tokyo is definitely a must for anyone who has the opportunity to do so. If you haven’t gone yet, I recommend you try to visit next year in May so you can join in on the celebrations.

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