Otori shrines, Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan
Every 12 days in November.
Taking place on the Days of the Rooster (according to the Chinese zodiac), this event normally happens twice a year. In the occasional years when it occurs three times, superstitious doomsayers believe there will be many fires. However, it’s invariably an upbeat occasion, where the festivalgoers visit Otori shrines to ask for abundant harvests and shed-loads of sales. Markets spring up around the shrines – the largest, in Tokyo’s Asakusa area, attracts tens of thousands of visitors to some 200 stalls.
A popular item to buy is a lucky kumade, a rake made of bamboo and adorned with charms such as masks, old coins and replica treasure chests. Hoping to keep raking in the wealth, some visitors fork out for a slightly bigger kumade each year. Traditionally, buyer and seller seal the deal with a ritual known as tejime, where they rhythmically clap their hands in harmony.
Ringing with claps and shouts, the markets are atmospheric places and many people turn up for a wander and some eats such as Yatsugashira potatoes, said to aid fertility.
2 – buy a rake for luck.
The festival takes place at some 30 shrines in Tokyo.
Asakusa is on the site Yoshiwara, the red light district of the ancient, pleasure-seeking city Edo. The five-storey pagoda was built to honour comedians, among others.
More Info: Tokyo Tourist Information Centre
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