Nakizumo Crying Baby Festival

11:00am – 4:00pm

Watching sumo wrestlers trying to make babies cry might seem like an odd pastime, but in Asakusa’s Sensoji it’s an age-old tradition. The 400-year-old event takes place at a few different temples and shrines across Japan but this is by far the most popular.

What happens?

The babies are a year old and the challenge is to see which cries first — becoming the winner. If they cry at the same time, the winner is determined by who cries the loudest and if a baby laughs, an ogre-mask-clad priest will often step in to encourage some tears.

Parents pay around ¥15,000 to have their babies participate, and it’s quite a privileged opportunity as the tears encourage good health and drive away any evil spirits. This is the root behind the popular Japanese saying that a crying baby grows faster (although we assume this is little comfort to tired parents at 2 a.m.).

Schedule 2024

There are two competitions: one held at 11:15 a.m. and one at 2:40 p.m. so don’t worry if you can’t make the earlier one.

Organizers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.

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