Archive | 2:41 am


19 May

I added a new FAQ entry to my website.
Click here to see it.


Yesterday we went to the 三社祭 (Sanja Festival) in Asakusa, Tokyo.

This is one of the three biggest festivals in Japan. It goes for three days…this year it was from Friday, May 16 til Sunday, May 18. Saturday was the biggest day. It gets real crowded.

I’ve been to the Sanja Festival a number of times over the years, so I wasn’t going to go to it this year. But yesterday (Sunday) was a nice day, so we decided to go to it.

Sanja Matsuri means “Three Shrines Festival” and it’s called this because of the three お神輿 (Mikoshi…or “Portable Shrines”) that are carried in the festival.

Japan has many “Mikoshi Festivals” like this one in the Spring and Summer. They are elaborately decorated and quite heavy and are carried enthusiastically by a large group who at times will lift it up and down while they are carrying it…and sometimes even toss it up and catch it!

(I’ve participated in carrying Mikoshi a couple times at a local festival. They’re very heavy and carried for hours! It’s quite a workout!)

The Yakuza (Japanese mafia) will often participate in larger festivals like this one; often carrying a Mikoshi and bearing their signature full-body tattoos (which are almost never shown in public)…and sometimes getting up and standing on the Mikoshi itself!

Standing on the Mikoshi is not only unsafe, but it also offends the Shinto priests who own the Mikoshi.

So last year, the police warned the mafia not to stand on the shrines, but they did it anyways…and one of them broke (Mikoshi…not mafia)!

One reason I decided that I wanted to go (besides the nice weather) was that I heard that the two larger Mikoshi weren’t going to be included in this year’s Sanja Festival, and that there would be a large police presence to insure order because of last year’s antics…so I wanted to see if this year’s festival was much different than previous years.

The only major difference that I noticed was that there wasn’t anyone standing on the shrines this year.

Festivals in Japan are always a time to relax and have fun…but the Sanja Matsuri has a bit of a “rough” image.

Maybe that’s part of it’s appeal.

Anyways, we walked along the Sumida River to the festival and we saw some Sumo Wrestlers and I took their picture and I also took pictures of the river and the building and boats along the river, and a picture of the Asahi Beer Building and then some pictures at the festival including the Children’s Mikoshi.

I also took some videos and uploaded them to my YouTube page.

It’s late now and I’m too tired to comment on each picture and movie…so I’ll just put them all here (if you have a question about them…please post it in the Comments section).

Anyways…it was a fun day. I really like festivals in Japan!