This year’s second and last Torinoichi fell on a Saturday, and I figured the crowds at the original Torinoichi market temple would be immense but I was obviously not taking this seriously enough. When I arrived there were lines stretching towards the main entrance from both directions and there were signs that lots of people had spent a long night waiting in line. I have visited many Torinoichi markets in Tokyo but this was my first visit here. Next year I will have to be earlier! There was no way I was going to get in within any reasonable amount of time so instead I decided to head to the Torinoichi shrine in Shibuya, but that will be the subject of another post later this week! You can read more about this shrine and the tradition of the Torinoichi here.
If you have ever visited Japan you can’t have failed to notice the many huge game centers or arcades in every bigger city or shopping center. Usually they do not allow photography, especially not with huge cameras like the ones I lug around, but this one was big enough and interesting enough that didn’t even need to enter it to take some photos. Most Tokyo game centers are geared towards teenagers and adult while this one had quite a few rides and games marketed towards much younger children. I would have loved these when I was four, and the Transformers shooting game would have been great when I was nine! This one was in a shopping center in Tsukuba City, in Ibaraki Prefecture.
Christmas is coming and Christmas trees, decorations and light shows are going up all over Tokyo. One of the more spectacular ones is the big tree in the middle of Omotesando Hills, a shopping center in the fashionable Omotesando district. On the hour every other there’s a bit of a special light and music show at the base of the tree above the very attractive miniature winter town. In fact the whole tree is decorated with miniatures and great fun to watch both from a far and up close. If you are passing by I recommend a quick stop to visit the tree!
At a festival in Kanda Myojin near the famous Akihabara district in central Tokyo I saw these two dressed up Gods from the Japanese mythological pantheon, Ebisu and Daikokuten. They are both members of the most commonly appearing Japanese God “band”, the Seven Gods of Fortune (七福神 Shichifukujin). Ebisu is the slightly crippled and deaf God of fishermen, workingmen and luck, and is usually shown holding a large fish and a rod in his distinctive hat. Daikokuten is the god of Darkness and also associated with luck and the household, especially the kitchen. He is usually shown holding his magic hammer which can tap out anything wished for. When not standing at shrines in central Tokyo he is usually seen sitting on two bales of rice, so full that mice gather around to catch what falls out of them.
It is not very common to see the Gods acted out like this at shrines and temples in Japan so I took the opportunity to catch these two fellows when they showed up. You can see other posts about Kanda Myojin and the festivals there here.