Asakusa Otori Shrine Celebrates Festival with Crowds and Food
Known as the first shrine to celebrate Tori no Ichi, Asakusa’s Otori Shrine celebrated the festival in November. The shrine, dedicated to one of the Seven Lucky Gods, Jurojin, is located on a busy street north of Asakusa’s main district.
Immediately upon leaving Iriya Station, crowds could be seen walking toward Asakusa area. After a short walk, it was apparent that waiting on the seemingly endless line that had formed to enter the shrine would be impossible during daylight. Those waiting had to endure a lengthy wait on a chilly afternoon to be able to enter the shrine area during this special event.
For other visitors, the festival’s appeal was one of food. Food stalls were set up along nearby streets. Everything from taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes usually filled with red bean, custard, or chocolate filling) to yakitori (barbecued chicken or meat on a stick) was on sale, and the crowds ate happily.
As the festival took place near Asakusa and Sensoji, the temptation to visit both was hard to overcome for many visitors. The sunset cast a beautiful glow over the temples that afternoon.
Regarding the Tori-no-Ichi festival, they are held 2-3 times every November; this has been a tradition since the Edo era. The first festival is called “Ichinotori,” the second is”Ninotori,” and the third is “Sannotori.” Worshipers flock to shrines during these festivals, which are derived from Japanese mythology, to give thanks and pray for good fortune and avoidance of bad luck or harm.
At these festivals, lucky rakes are sold which are beautifully decorated and said to bring wealth to the buyer. Those who queue during these festivals do so to purchase these lucky charms.
While the festivals have ended for this year, they will return, as customary, next year and every November to come. Close to Iriya Station, Otori Shrine is a beautiful shrine to visit throughout the year, especially without the commotion surrounding the festival.
[posted by Nadia]
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