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Traditional & Culture

Asakusa Sanja Festival: Check Out One of Tokyo’s Biggest Traditional Festivals in 2024

This huge Japanese Shinto festival happens every spring in Asakusa, and it’s a unique chance to immerse yourself in Japanese festival culture, from portable shrines to Japan’s more colorful characters.

Sanja Festival, also known as Sanja Matsuri (三社祭), or the “Festival of Three Shrines,” is a yearly event centered around Asakusa. This part of Tokyo is known as perhaps the most traditional area of the city, and many of the major festival events revolve around Asakusa Shrine – a Shinto shrine within the precincts of the Buddhist Sensoji Temple. For just a few days each year, as spring turns to summer, festival-goers can participate in traditions that have been going on for hundreds of years, as Tokyo turns back to its Edo roots.

Asakusa Sanja Festival (三社祭)
Event Dates: May 17 ~ May 19, 2024
Location: Asakusa Shrine, 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo
Access: Asakusa Station
Official Website (jp)

While the festival is based at the Asakusa Shrine, like many traditional Japanese festivals, a large part of it is focused on a procession of participants who parade through the streets of the Asakusa neighborhood. On their shoulders, these participants carry mikoshi (神輿), or portable shrines, decked out in beautiful gold and fabric decorations. They glitter in the sunlight and they’re beautiful to watch slowly carried along the street. The parade is so popular that it attracts an audience of around 2 million people every year! Join the crowd and hang out with tons of Tokyoites and visitors alike.

Things to See at the Sanja Festival:

1. The Mikoshi Shrine Procession

2. Traditional Binzazara Dances

3. The Surrounding Stalls and Festivities

Get Out There and Join the Festivities This May!

Take a trip to see the Sanja Festival, and not only will you get to enjoy a one-of-a-kind cultural event, but you’ll get a good sense of all the fun to be had at Japan’s many summer festivals without the miserable heat and humidity. It’s a perfect chance to see a beautiful mikoshi procession, like those still carried out all around Japan, but the event also has its own unique features, like the binzazara (traditional Japanese instrument) dance. So throw on a yukata and get out there – you won’t find a more exciting way to spend a May weekend!

▶︎ Find much more to do in Asakusa, from fancy kitchen knife shopping to pretty parks.

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