Festivals & Events
Featuring over 200 floats and portable shrines known as mikoshi, parades of dancers, musicians, and priests on horses, the Kanda Matsuri is out of this world.
The festival is centered around Kanda Jinja, also known as Kanda Myojin, close to JR Akihabara and Ochanomizu Stations.
The festival, however, parades throughout the neighborhood surrounding Kanda Myojin. Held during during the weekend around May 15, you may find it difficult to get to near the shrine or even on some of the major streets of the parade during the event. You will be able to find information at JR Akihabara or Ochanomizu Stations about how best to see the festivities, including crowd information.
The origins of the Kanda Matsuri date back to 1600, when Tokugawa Ieyasu's forces won the Battle of Sekigahara. Victory celebrations were continued throughout the prosperous Edo Period and continue on to this day.
The main shrine of the festival, Kanda Myojin, is associated with prosperity and good fortune. Ebisu and Daikokuten, two of the Seven Lucky God, also known as the Shichifukujin, are the patron deities of the shrine.
The festival celebrations go on for around a week, but the two main days are on the final weekend. Saturday is mainly dedicated to parades and Sunday is primarily mikoshi carrying. The parade routes go well beyong the area near the shrine, stretching all the way to Otemachi and Marunouchi, in the heart of downtown Tokyo near Tokyo Station. The area around Nihonbashi is also on the parade routes of some of the mikoshi.
Despite being one of the greatest festivals in Tokyo, this major event is only celebrated every other year. On even numbered years one of the other great Shinto festivals, the Sanno Matsuri of Hie Jinja in Nagatacho, is celebrated with a major procession in June.
The crowds on the final weekend are incredible. As you near Kanda Myojin th streets become increasingly packed, much more like the front stage area of a rock festival than perhaps anything else.