Late
May

Sanja Matsuri 2022 (Sanja Festival)

Free

The Sanja Matsuri typically takes place in late May each year, but in 2020 it was scaled down and moved to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The exact dates and shape of the festival haven’t been confirmed for 2021 and will be decided depending on what anti-COVID-19 measures are in place.

The Sanja Matsuri is known as one of the “3 great Shinto festivals in Tokyo” – along with the Kanda and Sanno festivals – and takes place on the third weekend of May.

This is one of the rowdier festivals with 2 million spectators typically in attendance to watch rather energetic, sometimes tattooed gentlemen doing what can most accurately be described as ‘mikoshi jousting’. Whereas in other festivals the ‘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—although this is strictly prohibited.

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

The main parade happens on Saturday from 12 noon starting at Asakusa Shrine.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, many events have been canceled. Always check official sites before heading to an event.

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