One of Tokyo’s largest and most renowned traditional festivals returns after a break of two years; however, the duration is reduced to only two days this year. It was first held in 1312; it commemorates the men who created the Asakusa’s Sensoji Temple. In the pre-Covid era, it would attract more than 1 million visitors to the area throughout the festival.
The most memorable part of the festival occurs on Saturday when three Mikoshi (portable shrines) are transported across Asakusa. Local residents typically take turns and sometimes fight to see who gets the honor to carry the Mikoshi. However, this year, the Mikoshi will be carried by a unicycle to avoid huge crowds. On Saturdays, there is usually an event called the Chonai Mikoshi Rengo Togyo. Around 100 Mikoshi from 44 districts within the region are gathered to be cleansed in the Asakusa Shrine, followed by a procession of priests, musicians, and others. This year, however, it’s not happening. Mikoshi’s traditional parade will be around Asakusa Shrine from 1 pm.
Note that a small portion of Japan that isn’t normally accessible to tourists is now open to the public in this location. The festival is most well-known (abroad) due to the many sheer Yakuza who are present and take part – so If you happen to see a group of heavily tattooed, oft-shirtless Japanese, both women and men make sure you don’t piss them off and be certain to request for permission to snap pictures. In general, they’re in the event to showcase their power and their tattoos and appear to appreciate the attention they receive.
Tokyo’s Biggest Festival Where Yakuza Flex Their Tattoos
Tattooed women will also be on the streets on their underwear to display their body artwork proudly to the public.
Tattoos are the symbol of bravery and strength for the Yakuza. Images of dragons, samurais, and koi fish as some of the more well-known tattoo designs.
Yakuza-style tattoos do NOT usually garner the approval of all categories in Japanese society, with many public baths or “onsens” excluding tattoos entirely in an effort to deter the gang members from going.
Sanja Matsuri festival and parade that takes place during the third weekend of May each year. It’s purpose is to bless the area with luck and prosperity for the city of Asakusa and its residents.
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