Updated： March 11, 2020
Kanda Matsuri 2019: How To Party Edo Style!
Kando Matsuri is one of the great three shrine festivals in Japan dating back to the samurai era. If you are in Japan in May, this is a must-go event!
- May 11, 2019(Sat) - May 12, 2019(Sun)
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Kanda Matsuri In Tokyo
Imagine taking part in a traditional festival that has its roots in the Edo Era. Kanda Matsuri is just that: A huge mikoshi (portable floats) festival related to the Shinto religion. It is one of the three main matsuris of the sort in Japan (the other two being the Sanno Matsuri and the Fukagawa Matsuri). It was originally held every year but because it was growing in rivalry with the Sanno Matsuri, the two are held alternatively from year to year. Kanda Matsuri is held on odd years. The next edition will be in May 2019. For information on the Sanno Matsuri, which is held on even years, check out the link below.
The festival is hosted by the Kanda Myojin Shrine, located in the Kanda neighborhood in Chiyoda-ku, not very far From Akihabara Station. Kanda Myojin enshrines three deities: the god of good harvest, the god of the fishermen, and a feudal lord. The mikoshis carried across the town during the celebration are said to be the residence of these gods. So ceremonial processions are a way to spread prosperity in the area.
The event lasts a full week, but the main thing to see is the procession of the mikoshi on the weekend. On Saturday, there are the three main mikoshis of the Kanda shrine that are carried through the Nihonbashi, Akihabara areas. There are musicians playing traditional instruments and dancers that move along with the float so the atmosphere is quite festive.
On Sunday, the mikoshi processions continue, but this time, the spotlight goes on the many local ones of the area. The event is a huge community celebration attracting people all over Tokyo and outside tourists. You can participate in the carrying of the mikoshis if you have some connection to those neighborhoods.
Food and Drinks
An important aspect of the festival is food. There will be heaps of street vendors selling festival foods such as takoyaki, or yakisoba, yakitori, etc. Try different things and get into the Matsuri spirit!
There are some cheap alcohols as well. It's perfectly normal to drink at these events in Japan. You should see plenty of people enjoying themselves with some sake or beer at hand. If you've worked up an appetite attending the festival then you can always enjoy some of the great restaurants and cafes of the area!
- Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.
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