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!

torinoichi_hanazono_shrine_2013_4031

torinoichi_hanazono_shrine_2013_4041

torinoichi_hanazono_shrine_2013_4054

torinoichi_hanazono_shrine_2013_4056

torinoichi_hanazono_shrine_2013_4068

More Hanazono Shrine Festival – Shinjuku

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

More photos from one of my favorite festivals in Tokyo, the grand Hanazono Jinja Matsuri! While being a people’s festival rooted in the local neighborhoods, these days very few people actually live in the parish, so many of the participants are people working in the area or having businesses here, which makes for an interesting crowd. These photos show the main procession, the priests, the dashi (a mobile music platform) pulled by shrine maidens and last but not least several of the omikoshi taking part in the festival. These pass right in front of the famous Isetan departement store in the heart of Shinjuku. As you can see from the photos it gets very crowded! I am already looking forward to next year’s festival which will be much smaller but fun still!

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2076

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2102

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2153

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2199

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2232

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2236

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2302

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2319

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2329

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2334

Hanazono Jinja Matsuri – Shinjuku Grand Festival

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on June 18, 2014

A couple of weeks ago saw the grand Hanazono Jinja festival in Tokyo’s capital, Shinjuku. The festival centers on the Hanazono Shrine almost hidden behind a few tall buildings in Kabukicho. This year was the grand festival in which the main omikoshi of the shrine gets taken out accompanied by a special dashi or festival wagon pulled by a team of the stronger miko, shrine maidens. The dashi is staffed by a kids and adults performing the traditional hayashi music style so famous in Japanese festivals. While all this is going on there are also multiple omikoshi doing the rounds of the parish, and even a few kid sized versions for the smaller members of the community. This is also one of the more crowded festivals of Tokyo and gets a lot of attention in media and tourist information centers. Now, this area of Shinjuku is not the most middle class place to hang out, so the festival can be a little rougher around the edges, drawing a wilder crowd than most festivals. Still there are plenty of families and kids taking part and since this is Japan, it is very safe as long as you stay away from the massive omikoshi!

The first four photos show one of the neighborhood omikoshi just on the edge of Shinjuku’s Golden Gai!

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_1797

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_1811

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_1854

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_1913

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_1958

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2005

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2007

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2022

hanazono_shrine_festival_2014_2046

Hanazono Shrine Festival – Shinjuku

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on May 25, 2014

One of the many festivals taking place this weekend is the grand Hanazono Shrine festival deep in the heart of Shinjuku! This year is the grand festival taking place every other year, where the big shrine omikoshi gets take out on a tour of the parish. I visited early on the second day of the three day festival and from the looks of it it must have been a wild first night! The second day is quite quiet, as the big celebrations are today, on the Sunday.

Hanazono Shrine is quite well hidden to the west of Kabukicho but with all the market stalls and the smell of food it should be easier to find this weekend! It is famous for being the shrine to go to if you want success in the entertainment industry and many famous singers and actors go there to pay their respects, both before and after their careers take off.

If you are free today I recommend visiting this great festival in Tokyo’s capital City, Shinjuku!

hanazono_jinja_taisai_2014_9814

hanazono_jinja_taisai_2014_9819

hanazono_jinja_taisai_2014_9822

hanazono_jinja_taisai_2014_9825

hanazono_jinja_taisai_2014_9832

hanazono_jinja_taisai_2014_9838

hanazono_jinja_taisai_2014_9845

hanazono_jinja_taisai_2014_9851

hanazono_jinja_taisai_2014_9855

hanazono_jinja_taisai_2014_9808

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,075 other followers

%d bloggers like this: