Local festival in Tokyo

Hi! This is Yoko writing today. Thank you for visiting our blog.

A local festival is held near my place every year on the first weekend of June. You can see people carrying a portable shrine and pulling a festival float. There are many food stalls in the shrine. It is one of the big events for the locals both adults and children.

Well, it was supposed to be very lively this weekend, but the festival was called off due to COVID-19. No portable shrines, no festival floats and no food stalls. It was a usual weekend. Too bad the festival was canceled, but I’d like to introduce you to this local festival today. I hope you enjoy it!

This festival is known as “Tenno-sai”. It is a festival to drive away epidemics that spread in summer. (By the way, “Gion Festival” in Kyoto is also known as a festival to get rid of epidemics, but it’s bigger one.)

A portable shrine, or “Mikoshi” in Japanese usually has 4 poles for carrying, but it has only 2 poles in this area. We call it “nitenbo-style”. The way of carrying is unique. People are waving a portable shrine from side to side wildly, and a phoenix on the top of “mikoshi” almost hits on the ground. Those scenes are so brave!

Not only portable shrines but also festival floats, or “Dashi” in Japanese are a must here. Some of “dashi” are for kids. They can get snacks when pulling a festival float. That’s why they bring a bag and join the festival.

You can enjoy Japanese drum performances in the shrine precinct. And there are a lot of food stalls such as fried noodles, okonomiyaki (savory pancake), shaved ice, sausages – you name it! You might be stuffed. Apart from those food, there are also stalls for activities like goldfish scooping or water balloon fishing. They are very popular among children.

Of course, I enjoy the festival every year especially when my daughter was little. I actually carried a portable shrine!

Well, I would be so glad if I could guide you this local festival next year. I really hope everyone can travel everywhere again soon! Until then, please stay safe! Thank you for reading and have a nice week!

Yoko Yoshida, a member of iTWS japan LLP

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