Spring

Kanda Festival 2019 – Experience One of the Three Great Matsuri in Tokyo!

Ai

Yamagata

Writer

If you want to experience “the classic Japanese festival,” Kanda festival should be in your priority list. Not merely it has a long history, but the scale is extreme. The celebration lasts for six days in a row, and the number of visitors is approximately 300 thousand.

In fact, Kanda festival is one of the three largest festivals in Japan, along with the Gion festival in Kyoto and Tenjin festival in Osaka. Furthermore, it is one of the “the three great festivals” of Tokyo along with the Sanja festival and Fukagawa Hachiman festival! Since the early 17th century, Japanese people, especially who have lived in Tokyo, have devoted their passion and energy to this festival. This article is the guideline of what to see and do at the traditional Kanda festival.


Matsuri Breakdown

The main festival is conducted in May in years ending in odd numbers, and the festivals held in even-numbered years are much smaller in scale. The reason why the scale is changed in alternate years is that the Tokugawa shogunate in the Edo period decided to prevent people from overspending by having the extravagant festival. The festival goes on for six consecutive days, and the main ceremonies take place on Saturday and Sunday.

The picture below is one of the floats on Saturday parade. All kinds of unique floats such as Oni (鬼) or demon’s one make people very excited.

People march through the central areas in Tokyo, including Kanda, Ochanomizu, and Akihabara. Because of this, it is not hard to take a glance at the floats while shopping in Akihabara even if you do not have plenty of time to visit Kanda Myojin Shrine.

Things To Do and See

The most exciting ceremony – Miyairi is conducted on Sunday, where over 100 portable shrines get together at Kanda Shrine. You will be overwhelmed by the powerful chants of the locals, and the whole new feeling of the community will spring to your mind!

Another highlight of this festival is the Shinkosai. Shinkosai is a parade of 500 people who wear clothing from the Heian period (794-1185). This parade gives you a great chance to take nice pictures and see the show! The parade starts at the Kanda Shrine and goes through Akihabara.

Moreover, the wide variety of food stalls lined by the street will satisfy your appetite. In 2015, for example, there were frankfurters, okonomiyaki, and nikumaki-bou, which is a chewy pork rice-cake. So, why don’t you enjoy Japanese food with beer, while waiting for the portable shrines (Mikoshi) to show up?

Image courtesy of xin beitou

Details and Access

Dates: May 9th – 15th, 2019. The Saturday and Sunday closest to May 15th feature the main parades. Dates and functions are subjects to change without notice. Be sure to check the latest information in advance.

Place: The festival takes place at Kanda Myojin shrine

Address: Tokyo, Chiyoda, Soto-Kanda 2-16-2

Official website (Japanese only): https://www.kandamyoujin.or.jp/kandamatsuri/

Access: 

Kanda Myojin shrine is 5 minutes’ walk from JR Chuo Line Ochanomizu station.
Also, the parade map or Youtube video is available on Kanda festival official website.
I recommend you to check it in advance so that you can save your time at the site.

Other Things to Do in Kanda

Although Kanda is not so popular city compared to other tourist districts, such as Asakusa or Shinjuku, it is instead a local area loved by residents historically. Because Kanda has been an academic center from the ancient times, there are some unique avenues, such as book town in Jimbocho where you can purchase any books from the latest to the second-hand ones.
Here are some examples which places are worth visiting!

Image courtesy of doronko

Music Instrument Avenue in Ochanomizu

A street that is approximately 500 meters long lined by music stores.

When you take the south exit of Ochanomizu station, you will find yourself in the music-lover town since there are many students with guitars walking along the street and stopping by the stores. The street close to Ochanomizu station is very popular for the music stores selling musical instruments and music-related items.

Izakayas Under the Railway Track “Gado-Shita”

Casual taverns which are under the railway near Kanda station.

Kanda is also popular as the business town. So, there are plenty of izakayas or taverns near the station. There is a unique avenue – Gado-Shita, which means “underneath the railway track.” If you want to experience bar-hopping as the locals, there is no other place than Kanda! You can go through euphoria with proper Japanese foods and alcohol at a relatively reasonable price.

Closing Remarks

Kanda Myojin shrine is very popular for not only the festival but for the New Year’s praying events. Every year, more than 300 thousand people come to the place and make a wish that we Japanese call “hatsumoude.” Since the shrine is in the center of the business area, even workers pray for the prosperity of their company every year in January.
It is an exceptional experience to get excited with the big parade of the portable shrines at one of the most famous shrines in Japan!

So, if you need any guides to take you around the festival and show you even more things to do in the area, please check the banner below!

An Ultimate Idea Source for Your Tokyo Stay!

Most of the travelers who come to Japan enter the country through Tokyo. Even if it is not the main place of your destination, it would be a great idea to stay in the capital city for a few days. The biggest conglomerate in the world has much to offer to any kind of traveler. Whether you want to go sightseeing, shopping, eating out, or trying something special that you can experience only in Japan, Tokyo has it all. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Tokyo! Please, have a look, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/7726/ 

Most Popular Tokyo Spring Events and Festivals 2019

Spring is definitely one of the best seasons to visit Tokyo! Not only because the metropolis turns pink with Sakura flowers. The weather is perfect for outdoor activities, and Tokyo features a lot of them in spring. Even if you are visiting only for a few days, I am sure you will find a perfect festival or event that suits your desires in Tokyo this spring. The following article picked up the most popular events to enjoy this season. Please check it out!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/popular-tokyo-spring-events-festivals-2019

12 Tokyo Festivals for Each Month

Tokyo is one of the biggest cities in the world. It is full of various people, history, and traditions. The tradition of holding festivals is in Japanese blood. Tokyo can boast of numerous festivals, and the following article has picked 12 exciting festivals in Tokyo and around, so you can join at least one of them at any season when you come to this dynamic city.

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5852/

Enjoy Sakura in Japan!

Cherry blossoms are an essential part of Japanese culture. And, viewing cherry blossoms (Hanami) is very popular in Japan during the spring. This is because cherry blossoms, which the Japanese call “Sakura” are stunning at this season.

If you are planning to visit Japan this spring and want to discover more cherry blossoms spots in Kyoto area, please check the following article. It’s covering the best Hanami spots in the old capital and provides you with the essential information, so you can get the most from your Sakura trip!

Here`s the link. URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2566/ 

Kyoto has many beautiful spots to see Cherry blossoms. However, other areas also have excellent places for hanami. Tokyo features many of those spots as well! If you are in Tokyo around spring and looking for a place to see cherry blossoms, Why don’t you check the following article?

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/1805/

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5363/

Don’t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5504/

Ai Yamagata

I love shonan, local community. My favorite thing is to explore good places for sake and music.

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