Festivals & Events
From December 17 to December 19, the yearly hagoita fair attracts thousands of visitors to Asakusa in Tokyo. Brightly colored and artistic, these good luck charms make beautiful gifts or can be used as a unique piece of decor.
The temple is a five-minute walk from Asakusa Station, on the Ginza Line, Asakusa Line and Tobu railway lines.
Hagoita stalls are clustered around the main hall of Sensoji Temple.
Hagoita are rectangular bats used for playing a traditional New Year's game called hanetsuki, somewhat similar to badminton. However, the bats sold at the market are distinctive, being purely ornamental good luck charms. Each hagoita is decorated by hand using lacquer, embroidery, or silk cloth.
More traditional versions feature handsome kabuki actors and elegant beauties, but you can also find bats decorated with images of popular celebrities, sumo wrestlers, athletes, and even cartoon characters.
These charms come in a range of sizes, from just a couple centimeters long to over one meter in length.
If you decide to buy one, be prepared to clap your hands in harmony with the seller. It's not tricky, just watch the other buyers and you'll soon pick up the rhythm of this cheerful festival.