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 the weekend around May 15, you may find it difficult to get near the shrine or even on some of the major streets of the parade during the event. Check at the station for the latest information about crowds and viewing locations.
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 (1603-1867) 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 Gods, are the patron deities of the shrine.
The festivities 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 the portable shrine procession. The parade routes go well beyond the area near the shrine, stretching all the way to Otemachi and Marunouchi, in the heart of downtown Tokyo. 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, its counterpart, the Sanno Matsuri of Hie-jinja in Nagatacho, is marked with a major procession in June.
The crowds on the final weekend are incredible. As you near Kanda Myojin the streets become increasingly packed, much more like the front stage area of a music festival than what you'd expect of a Shinto celebration.