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Daradara Matsuri: Tokyo’s Longest Festival Celebrates Tradition and Ginger

Indulge in the Festive Spirit of Tokyo Events in September at the Daradara Matsuri.

The 11-day “Never-Ending” Festival

Tokyo’s Shiba Daijingu Shrine will host the annual Daradara Matsuri in mid-September 2023, an event famous for being the longest festival in Japan. The festival, also known as the “Never-Ending Festival” or “Ginger Festival,” stretches over 11 days and offers a unique blend of traditional performances, dancing, music, and ginger market.

The term “daradara” means to take one’s time or “endless,” referencing the extraordinary length of the festival from September 11 to 21. Most shrine festivals in Japan last two or three days, making this event particularly special.

Historical Background and Significance

Shiba Daijingu Shrine is not only famous for being the venue of the Daradara Matsuri but also has a storied history. In the early 19th century, a brawl occurred between local firefighters and sumo wrestlers at the shrine. As a nod to this event, fire alarms now decorate the shrine grounds.

The Daradara Matsuri is sometimes called the Ginger Root Festival (Shoga Matsuri) due to a legend involving Yui Shosetsu, a military strategist who led an uprising against the Tokugawa shogunate. It is said that Shosetsu poisoned the Tamagawa Aqueduct, but residents of Edo were saved because ginger – known for its antidotal properties – was washed in the water. Even today, fresh ginger roots are sold throughout the festival in recognition of this historical story.

In ancient times, locals surrounded Shiba Daijingu Shrine with vast ginger fields, often offering ginger roots to the enshrined deity. This tradition continues through selling fresh ginger throughout the festival.

Festival Highlights and Activities

For 11 days, attendees will be able to witness a large variety of traditional performances, dances, and Japanese court music. The festival’s main highlight takes place on September 16, with an entire day dedicated to celebrating Japan’s cultural heritage.

The street leading up to Shiba Daijingu Shrine becomes a bustling hub of activity as visitors peruse food stalls and portable shrines, or mikoshi, paraded through the surrounding area. One popular item on offer is the “Chigibako,” a good luck charm for happy marriages; it’s particularly sought after among women and is difficult to obtain but can be found during the festival period.

Access and Future Events

Visitors can access Shiba Daijingu Shrine through the Toei Asakusa or Toei Oedo Lines to Daimon Station – just a minute’s walk from the A6 Exit. Alternatively, travelers can take the JR Yamanote or JR Keihin Tohoku Lines to Hamamatsucho Station and reach the shrine in five minutes from the North Exit.

Although the Daradara Festival is traditionally held on the same dates each year, uncertainties surrounding annual events due to COVID-19 continue to impact local celebrations.

Discover the Dynamic Energy of the Daradara Matsuri, Tokyo’s Festive Extravaganza, alongside the Tokyo Sumo Tournament.

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