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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Festivals & Events

Sanja Festival 三社祭

Three days of spring revelry

During the third full weekend in May, a hundred portable mikoshi shrines, stately parades, and lots of sake come together to create the Asakusa Sanja Matsuri. Join in the high-spirited atmosphere and celebrate the founders of Sensoji Temple at one of Tokyo's top three festivals.

Don't Miss

  • Watching the Daigyoretsu Parade on Friday afternoon
  • Seeing hundreds of mikoshi around the Asakusa neighborhood on Saturday
  • Viewing eager carriers compete to hold the large Asakusa Temple mikoshi on Sunday

How to Get There

Most events are centered around Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine and can be easily accessed by train, however, the mikoshi parade around the whole Asakusa area.

The temple is a 5-minute walk from Asakusa Station, served by the Ginza Line, Asakusa Line and Tobu Railway Line.

Carrying the gods

A true feast for the senses, the Sanja Matsuri features around 100 mikoshi, portable shrines into which Shinto gods are symbolically placed.

Neighborhood mikoshi teams then parade the shrines through the streets, vigorously calling out and jolting the massive shrines as they go.

This tradition is said to bring good fortune to Asakusa's businesses and residents. The shrines range in size from the three huge mikoshi of Asakusa Shrine to cute miniature versions carried by neighborhood children.

Friday events

The festival begins with the Daigyoretsu Parade on Friday afternoon. A parade of priests, geisha, and officials all wearing Edo-period costumes proceed from Yanagi-dori Street to Asakusa Shrine, accompanied by musicians riding on decorated floats while playing flutes and drums. After a Shinto prosperity ceremony, the first portable shrines start jostling through the streets and the party starts.

Saturday events

Saturday is dedicated to the blessing of almost 100 neighborhood mikoshi. Visitors can start to see them carried out around noon for ceremonies at Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine. Once the blessing is complete, the teams ramp up their energy and go parading through the area to bring luck and prosperity to their neighborhoods.

Sunday events

The Sanja Festival starts early on the final day when excited carriers from across the area gather at Asakusa Shrine and compete to carry one of shrine's three large main mikoshi. Things can get a bit heated, so for safety reasons spectators are not allowed through Sensoji's gates during this part of the festival.

Once the battles for those prized spots calms down, the gold-covered shrines are danced and bounced through Asakusa's decorated streets until 8:00 p.m., when the festivities start to wind down.

Throughout the entire festival, Asakusa is filled with food stalls, festival games, and the lively sounds of traditional drums and flutes.

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