Sanja Matsuri Tokyo’s Biggest and Wildest Festival – Japan Talk

Sanja Matsuri Tokyo’s Biggest and Wildest Festival – Japan Talk.

posted by Asami, Japan Talk, May 16, 2012 

The 2012 Sanja Matsuri is scheduled for May 18th to 20th 

Sanja Matsuri is one of Tokyo’s biggest summer festivals. It also has a reputation for being a little on the wild side. 

yakuza in Japan 

The festival runs three days and attracts 2 million visitors. 


very big festivals in Tokyo 
tokyo crowds 
sanja festival crowds 
Asakusa Sanja Matsuri attracts millions of visitors 

The festival is in honor of the three men who founded Senso-ji (Tokyo’s oldest and most visited temple). As the story goes … two fisherman (brothers) caught a Buddha statue in the river. It inspired them to create the temple. A third man was also inspired by the Buddha. Luckily he was rich enough to fund the project. 

The temple was first constructed in 628. It was largely destroyed by the fire bombing of Tokyo in WWII. It’s reconstruction was a symbol of national recovery. 

According to the Asahi Shinbun Newspaper, some of the mikoshi in the festival are controlled by yakuza groups. These mikoshi weigh approximately one ton and costs around $500,000 US dollars (40 million yen). There are around 100 mikoshi in the festival parade. 

real irezumi japanese tattoo 

japanese tattoo 

Sanja Matsuri Tokyo 

sanja matsuri 

things to avoid in Tokyo 

The vast majority of people attending the festival are normal Tokyoites and tourists. 

Japanese women at Sanja Matsuri Festival Asakusa tokyo 

tokyo fun festival 

Sanja Matsuri police 

the girl with the perfect smile 

This couple has just been married. 

just married in Tokyo 

There’s plenty of festival food on the streets of the festival. The street leading up to Senso-ji temple (Nakamise street) has hundreds of souvenir shops. 

festival lanterns 

yakitori at the festival 

Several highly rated Geisha performances are scheduled throughout the festival. Tickets are required. Geisha can often be seen participating in the festivities (Geisha are a rare sight in Tokyo). 

rare Japanese Geisha in Tokyo 

geisha
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