And so, Tokyo’s festival season begins in earnest once again. Just as the cherry blossoms are destined to show themselves once a year, so too are the many taiko drums and mikoshis (portable shrines) – symbols of the city’s many matsuris, or festivals. Tokyo is blessed with a very busy festival schedule; there are multiple events every single month of the year. But it is the period between May and August that really sees an explosion of activity.
This weekend I went to the Karasumori Inari Shrine Grand Festival – my first mikoshi event of the year. Matsuris featuring mikoshi are always very powerful – a lot of shouting, cheering and pushing. But despite the ruckus, the atmosphere at these events is always very wholesome, even at the Sanja Matsuri where one of Tokyo’s major Yakuza groups disrobes and performs a show of strength.
This year’s Karasumori Matsuri fell on a major festival year, and so there was a parade of the shrine’s grand mikoshi in front of Shinbashi Station at 11:30am. Exiting the station, I was immediately hit by the sound of taiko drums, before hundreds of participants hoisted up the the portable shrine and carried it through the streets, chanting in unison. Standing there in the sun, enveloped in a wall of noise, I was reminded that summer is well on its way, and that the festival season has well and truly begun.
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2018 Festival Reports
2017 Festival Reports
2016 Festival Reports