Tokyobling's Blog

Ikebukuro Matsuri – Biggest Festival in Toshima Ward

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on October 16, 2014

Two weekends ago I visited the annual Ikebukuro Matsuri, which is the biggest festival in Toshima Ward, one of the biggest of the 23 central Tokyo special wards. At one time Ikebukuro was famous for being the spot in the world with more square feet department store than anywhere else, but the recent death of department stores have lead to there being of these. The number of visitors to the festival keeps increasing however, with this year’s festival the busiest ever. I arrived very late to the West exit area of Ikebukuro but saw my favorite omikoshi in Tokyo – the death defying balls of steel no fear omikoshi (as I call it). They stop regularly on their route and tip the omikoshi violently and rapidly back and forth, urging each other to go deeper and deeper. I can not imagine anything that would bring me more mortal fear than being underneath this omikoshi as it tips over, a ton of wood and steel being inches from crushing you stopped at the last moment by tired, sweaty, possibly drunk, neighbors and friends. Still, it is utterly fascinating to watch. Like bungee jumping, but the other way around.

Ikebukuro is famous for being far more rough and tumble than the rest of Tokyo so it is only natural that their festivals take on a slightly wilder nature!

Although the many omikoshi is the main draw of the festival (there are dozens) a lot of people come for the music performances, food stalls, Okinawan dance troupes and taiko drummers. It is an interesting festival to watch!

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7 Responses

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  1. sanseilife said, on October 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    I am loving your blog!

    Like

  2. sanseilife said, on October 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Reblogged this on sanseilife and commented:
    An amazing story from Tokyobling!!

    Like

  3. uaifestival said, on October 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I was there too.Sometime we might stumble in each others

    Like

  4. tonycottrellphotography said, on October 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    great photos

    Like


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