31 May, 2010
On May 15th we went to Asakusa to see the Sanja Matsuri (festival)! It’s one of the biggest festivals in Tokyo: Over the course of three days, the festival attracts 1.5 to 2 million locals and tourists every year. :O! Sanja Matsuri is a religious celebration. It is a weekend-long Shinto festival that is dedicated to the kami (spirits) of three men. The weather that day was also really good so we prepared ourselves for some pushing & shoving!
Below the men are carrying the Mikoshi on their shoulders just outside the Sensoji Temple. “A mikoshi is a portable Shinto shrine. Shinto followers believe that it serves as the vehicle of a divine spirit in Japan at the time of a parade of deities. Often, the mikoshi resembles a miniature building, with pillars, walls, a roof, a veranda and a railing. Typical shapes are rectangles, hexagons, and octagons. The body, which stands on two or four poles (for carrying), is usually lavishly decorated, and the roof might hold a carving of a Phoenix.”
The atmosphere was great! There was just so much energy all around! The men who were carrying the Mikoshi were shouting like cave men and everyone around them are in such a happy mood. But some of the visitors were pushing each other to the side to catch a glimpse of the men, it was so annoying! It seemed like the Japanese forgot their good manners and behaved like us foreigners out there! But despite all the people, it was a lot of fun to watch :).
Men resting while fixing their rope-shoes… On the right the Mikoshi is resting on blocks.
Not only men were carrying the Mikoshi, also little kids had their own mini version of the Mikoshi! Kawaii ne!
Around the shrine there were a lot of small food stands everywhere. Typical festival food were sold like these squid balls called Takoyaki. Normally they are delicious, but the ones I bought weren’t that good. It had too much ginger in it. So far everytime we ate festival food, it all disappointed us.. the food just looks and smells really good, taste is not so good unfortunately… :(
Behind the temple all the Mikoshi’s were lined up. Everyone is waiting for their turn to walk around the temple carrying the heavy Mikoshi’s. It was damn crowded over there!
Also the kids were waiting their turn :).
Apparently it’s normal to wear g-strings with no pants on during the matsuri’s. For us gaijins (foreigners) it’s still a horrifying site. Yuck!
Poor kids, probably forced by their parents to carry that heavy thing!
This was also really cute, kids playing the drums.
In the end we had a really good time. Good atmosphere, great show (cave men), a lot of food including ice cream, free toilet (hey I’m still dutch!), cute kids… We would recomend this to everyone!