Festivals & Events
A week-long series of events culminating in a traffic-stopping, city-wide parade, Sanno Matsuri is one of the capital's top festivals and a glorious celebration of all things Tokyo.
The Sanno Matsuri centers around Hie-Jinja, easily accessible from many Tokyo Metro subway stations on the Chiyoda, Ginza, Marunouchi, Yurakucho and Hanzamon lines.
Heralding the beginning of Japan's summer festival season, Sanno Matsuri is one of Tokyo’s three most famous and well-loved festivals. Held June 7 to 17 every even-numbered year, the festivities alternate with Kanda Matsuri, a sister event which takes place in odd-numbered years.
A celebration of the nation's new political center and its rulers, Sanno Matsuri came into being during the Edo Period, from 1603 to 1867, when Tokugawa shoguns began to rule the country from what was then known as Edo.
Spanning over eleven days, Sanno Matsuri boasts a few events at Hie Shrine where the deity of Tokyo is said to be enshrined, but most are small and intimate. The main attraction is an eye-catching parade, beginning and ending at Hie Shrine, weaving throughout central Tokyo over a nine-hour period.
Although the procession has shrunk a bit in recent years to avoid disrupting the city traffic, it still features over 500 costume-clad dancers and performers, making it an incredible sight. Also be on the lookout for the 3 mikoshi, or portable shrines, that carry the gods throughout the city.