Sanja Matsuri 2023 (Sanja Festival)

The Sanja Matsuri is known as one of the “3 Great Shinto Festivals in Tokyo” — along with the Kanda and Sanno festivals. It takes place every year over the third weekend of May.

This is one of Tokyo rowdier festivals. Some 2 million spectators typically turn up to watch rather energetic, sometimes tattooed gentlemen doing what can most accurately be described as “mikoshi jousting.” Whereas in other festivals the mikoshi (portable shrine) bearers may bounce the incredibly heavy mikoshi, during the Sanja Matsuri, fundoshi-clad participants often ride on the top and will try to knock opponents off — even though this is strictly prohibited.

Sanja festival Asakusa
Participants in the Sanja Festival in Asakusa | Photo by Gregory Lane
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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