Tokyobling's Blog

First Day of Torinoichi Market

Posted in Japanese Traditions, Places by tokyobling on November 10, 2014

Yesterday was the first of the two Torinochi market days on the calendar for this year. I had a lot of work today and couldn’t go myself but here are some photos that I took last year at the Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku. Let me quote myself about the meaning and background of the Torinoichi tradition:

“November the 10th is the first of the annual Torinohi, two or three days in November when traditional tornoichi markets are being held in many shrines and temples throughout Japan. The fact that both religions, shinto and buddhism, celebrate this tradition is interesting, the only difference between them is their reason for doing it. In all places the main object is to trade in the traditional kumade (熊手, or bear’s hand) decoration pieces, sometimes as small as 500 yen coin, and sometimes big enough to cover a small wall, there are all kinds of kumade and all the traders take great pride in displaying as much of their wares as possible. The basic form of the kumade comes from the humble garden rake, and the kumade is said to symbolize the raking in of health, happiness and health. It is traditional for local business to buy one each year to display in their shops. Whatever your belief is, the magic of the kumade actually works as it attracts customers. I personally always stop in front of a shop displaying a good kumade, giving the proprietor of the shop a chance to wheel me in and make a sale. The tradition is always buy a larger kumade than last year, so if you plan on following the tradition I would recommend starting out as small as possible, even though the sly tradesmen will always try to sell you their biggest!”

There is one more Torinoichi this year and I hope to catch it!







6 Responses

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  1. docugraphy said, on November 10, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Awesome pictures!!! I love the colours and the nearly 3D-effect 🙂


  2. PaaqaviINC said, on November 11, 2014 at 2:04 am

    I am amazed at the light. It is obviously night but you capture both the softness of lantern lights and the details in the dark streets somehow without flash? I love your technique whatever it is.


    • tokyobling said, on November 25, 2014 at 1:07 am

      Thank you for your kind comment! (^-^) Modern technology! I think it would look better on film but I have to use digital for this blog so… I almost never use flash (99.92% of the photos on this blog are without flash), steady hand, slow shutter and creative photoshopping to bring out the shadows!


  3. rudyhou said, on November 21, 2014 at 5:23 am

    interesting. i never been to this kind of market before. and so i wasn’t aware of this kumade tradition until now.


    • tokyobling said, on November 25, 2014 at 2:15 am

      The best ones are the special ones made for the police and fire fighters…! (^-^)


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