Kanda Matsuri and Other Shinto Festivals of Tokyo This Spring

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Tokyo holds many festivals (matsuri) throughout the year. Major festivals include the Sanno Festival at Hie Shrine, and the Sanja Festival at Asakusa Shrine. The Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo is held every two years in May. The festival features a parade with elaborately decorated floats and thousands of people. Annually on the last Saturday of July, an enormous fireworks display is held over the Sumida River and it attracts over 1 million viewers. Once cherry blossoms, orsakura, bloom in spring, many residents gather in parks such as Ueno Park, Inokashira Park, and the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden for picnics under the cherry trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kanda Matsuri (神田祭?) or the Kanda Festival, is one of the three great Shinto festivals of Tokyo, along with the Fukagawa Matsuri and Sannō Matsuri. The festival started in the early 17th century as a celebration of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s decisive victory at the battle of Sekigahara and was continued as a display of the prosperity of the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo period. Additionally, the current form of the festival is also held in honor of the kami of the Kanda Myojin.

The festival is held on the Saturday and Sunday closest to May 15, but since it alternates with the Sannō Matsuri, it is only held on odd numbered years. On these years, the festival takes place at the Kanda Shrine in Kanda, Tokyo as well as surrounding central Tokyo districts. Its prominent parades involve about over 200 mikoshi, in addition to musicians, dancers and floats.