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Published on 02.07.2016
Hearing the word “Festival” brings excitement to the hearts of both kids and adults alike. This is perhaps true for any country in the world. But if you happen to be able to witness a festival while you are in Japan, consider yourself lucky because Japanese festivals have a unique. Some people who love festivals may visit Japan especially during times when they are held.
The Grand Festival at Kanda Shrine in Tokyo is one of the three greatest festival in Japan (the others are the Gion Festival in Kyoto and the Tenjin Festival in Osaka). The Grand Festival is held only in every two years. It may be a good idea that you plan to visit Tokyo from the beginning to the middle of May during odd-numbered years to see the Grand Festival. It is a historic festival, with roots tracing back to the Edo-era (603 - 1868).
More than one hundred Mikoshi (portable or miniature shrines) are gathered here, in Kanda Shrine, during the festival. Mikoshi, which are carriages for the gods are decorated with golden roofs, delicate engravings, and fine textiles with brocade and embroidery. Enshrined gods usually stay within the shrine, but during times of festivals they are removed from the shrine, and carried around town in a Mikoshi, to rid the town of evils and misfortunes for people who live there.
It is a spectacular sight, seeing the people who bear the gorgeous and majestic Mikoshi with all their strength. Bearers wear their uniform called Happi, a traditional Japanese straight-sleeved coat, as the call out “seiya, soiya!”
Be sure not to miss the parades as well! More than three hundred people pulling unique floats march in parades through the streets. You may see men on horses in samurai uniforms, floats with characters from popular folk stories and pop culture, and enjoy music and dance.
Usually, Kanda is known as a business town, but during the festival, you can see a different side of the town and may amazed the contrast between them.
Dates: The next Grand Festival is scheduled for May 2017.
Place: Kanda Shrine: Five minutes from Ochanomizu Station on the JR/subway lines
Please check out the website before you go.