Tokyobling's Blog

Last Day of Sanja Matsuri – Asakusa

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on May 20, 2014

The last day of the massive Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo’s Asakusa district is when they bring out the big three omikoshi of the shrine itself. The different neighborhood groups take turns handling them and competition for the best spots get quite fierce. I am always surprised there aren’t more injuries when I see these portable shrines coming down the streets.

The original four omikoshi, dating back to the early 17th century were lost in the firebombings of the war, but three of them has since been replaced by more modern omikoshi about 60 years ago. The fourth omikoshi still hasn’t been replaced, and maybe it never will. This omikoshi is exactly 1000kg heavy but the others are slightly heavier still.

The police did their best in protecting both participants and tourists, but sometimes they were too busy saving themselves. Even viewed from a distance the ceremony is exciting as you are never quite sure where the omikoshi is heading. I am already looking forward to next year’s big festival!













One Response

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  1. webojunk said, on May 20, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    That omikoshi weight sounds like a lot, but I did some quick calculations — looks to be slightly heavier than a Smart car. If 2-3 people can tip one of those into an Amsterdam canal or San Francisco sidewalk, a ton more people carrying an omikoshi doesn’t sound so bad after all. (For some reason, I thought everyone was shouldering some insanely heavy burden — hard to tell from the pics)

    I really like the lavender/turquoise outfit on the…priest? Have never seen that color combo in your pics before.


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