7 – 17 June 2018
Sanno matsuri of Hie jinja, held every two years, is counted among the big three festivals of Edo (premodern Tokyo) and also the three most famous festivals in Japan.
An overwhelming difference from the rest of Shinto-shrine festivals, the procession of Sanno-matsuri goes around a vast area of central Tokyo, and in particular, the Imperial Palace, which is the former site of the Edo Castle.
During the 10-day festival, a variety of Shinto rituals and festive events will take place. Most of all, the colourful festival profession is definitely worth viewing.
Highlights of Sanno Festival
Jinko-sai on 8 June and Miyairi on 9 June
Jinko-sai is the event where the festival procession and mikoshi (portable shrines) travel around Hie Shrine’s “parishes” (sort of…).
From 7:30 am to 4:45 pm, a colourful procession consisting of Hie Shrine’s mikoshi, floats and people clad in kimono will travel through the middle of Tokyo.
Departing from Hie Shrine, the group will pass by the National Diet, Yotsuya, Yasukuni Street, the National Theater and the Imperial Palace in the morning. The procession thence continues to Marunouchi, Nihonbashi, Ginza, Hibiya, Kasumigaseki and back to Hie Shrine.
To this will be added 9 mikoshi belonging to “shrine parishes”, carried by devotees and volunteers. The vibrant mikoshi procession will be concluded on 9 June by “Miyairi”, the ritual of returning to Hie-jinja shrine, around 5 pm.
Sanno ondo and Japanese folk dance (13 – 15 June)
In the evening the shrine precincts will be lit gently with lanterns. People in yukata will dance around the festival tower, to the rhythm of taiko drums. Starting at 6:30 pm.
Sanno-kajo ceremony (16 June)
The kajo-no-gi is a ritual dating back to the medieval period. At 1 pm, wagashi (traditional Japanese tea sweets) will be solemnly prepared and offered by wagashi confectioners to the shrine’s deity, in prayer for good health and for warding off diseases and epidemics.
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