International Travel / Japan / Tokyo

Tori no ichi Festival {Shinjuku and Asakusa}

Tori-no-ichi is a rooster festival (cock festival, LOLOL, #supermature) held every 12 days in November (so 2-3 times, depending on the year) in Japan.  The focus of the festival is praying for prosperity in business, so, as you can imagine, particularly in the current economic climate, this festival was POPPIN’.

I attended the festival twice this November.  First, in Shinjuku at the Hanazono Shrine (below).  Second, in Asakusa at the Juzaisan Chokoku Shrine (above).  The latter was the larger of the two, but both were equally vibrant, delicious and fun.

Juzaisan Chokoku Shrine in Asakusa 

Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku

People purchase decorated rakes for donation.  The guys selling them make a lot of noise and do various excited chants, which I understand none of.  Creates a beautiful and exciting atmosphere though!

Matsuri always have these children’s masks for sale.  I’ve asked multiple people what for, and I think there’s no significance — children just like cartoon masks.  Whoops!

Also for children is this classic matsuri game — fishing for goldfish!  This game is prominent at Japanese festivals in Los Angeles, as well!!  I used to go quite crazy for it as a kid.  We should feel quite sad for the goldfish – they get put in plastic bags of water and basically boil in the bag if you don’t get them home soon enough.  What a miserable way to go!

Festivals always smell amazing — here’s why:





The okonomiyaki (500 yen) and kobe beef skewers (400 yen for 1) pictured above were absolutely delicious.  Festival food always tastes better.  Pro tip is picking up a couple of convenience store beers on your way to the festival because they double in price at the festival (LOL #ghetto).

Almost every matsuri I’ve been to has been great, but since Tori-no-ichi is at night (many festivals are during the daytime), it has something extra special about it.  Feels more engulfing, smokey and energetic.


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