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Sanja Matsuri Festival This Weekend

May 15, 2008

Sanja Matsuri Festival This Weekend

The number three in Japanense is “san” and the Sanja Matsuri is a festival that honors the three men who founded the Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo.  Two of the men were said to have found a Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) statuette caught in their fishing net around this time in the year 628.  A wealthy man heard about the discovery and used the opportunity to share a Buddhist sermon with the two men.  The two men were converted and devoted their life to teaching Buddhism.  The wealthy man consecrated the Kannon statuette in a small temple in what is now know as Asakusa Shrine.  These three men are recognized as the founders of Asakusa and are revered as deities (Gods).  The Sanja Matsuri is one of the three greatest matsuri (festivals) in Tokyo and is celebrated annually over the third weekend of May. Event Schedule:

May 16th – Approximately 1,000 participants in traditional attire will parade down Nakamise-dori Street to Asakusa Shrine from 1 PM to 3:30 PM.  Floats carrying musicians playing flutes and beating drums, people dressed as traditional artisans and traditional dancers are just some of the sights that you will see in this parade.  You might even catch a Geisha or two?

May 17th & 18th – At 11 AM over 100 Mikoshi (portable shrines) from the various districts within Asakusa will start parading around the area.

A word of caution, approximately 1.5 million people will attend this event over the weekend so it will be crowded!

To attend the Sanja Matsuri take the subway to Asakusa Station.  Follow the signs to Kaminarimon Gate.

Photo Credit:  Flickr, 浅草三社祭*Sanja Matsuri & 浅草三社祭*Sanja Matsuri