Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Sanja Festival 2018 - shots from Sensoji

This was the first time for me to visit the Sanja Festival on a Saturday.  After many years I finally got my chance. I had a great time and it actually proved an eye-opener for me.  Traditionally I’ve always visited it on the Sunday, and that day runs quite differently. The only thing that wasn’t different at all was the crowd, it was huge as always.

One of the mikoshi leaving Asakusa shrine and everyone is having a blast, especially dad!

Mikoshi being carried around the main hall of Senoji

Whenever I’ve been on the Sunday most of the exciting action, which most visitors go to see, takes place in front of Kaminarimon (or Thunder Gate).  The Saturday which seems fractionally more sedate, sees most of the action taking place around Asakusa shrine and Sensoji temple.

One of the mikoshi approaching the Hozo Gate

A crowd and a shrine in front of Asakusa shrine

From what I saw, some mikoshi (portable shrines) were carried through the Hozomon (Hozo Gate) to the rear of Sensoji temple where they waited.  Others were carried in from different areas, but also ended up behind the main hall and waited.  That area, as you can see in the pictures, had a huge crowd waiting there to support all the neighbourhood groups.  With so many mikoshi lined up with nothing to do there were many chances to get photographs.

An enormous crowd gathers to see the mikoshi in front of the the Hozo Gate

Mikoshi being carried under the Hozo Gate

From about 1:30 pm, the mikoshi were carried to Asakusa shrine and blessed by a priest, before being carried out to start the tours of the neighbourhoods again.  My spot at this point for taking photos was just behind the torii to the shrine. From there I was in a good position to see what was going on, maybe fifty meters from the priest, but when the mikoshi were on their way out, they passed only centimeters from me.

A ton of shrine on her shoulder, and she's in ecstatic about it!

On the way to Senosoji

As I’ve said in previous articles, getting close to the mikoshi, in my opinion can be a little dangerous.  They are huge, weigh a ton and carried on long poles by forty people, who bounce them up and down on their shoulders.  So, if you have a camera and want to get close to get your pics, that’s okay and no one will complain, but you need to really aware of where people are going so as not to bump into anyone thereby creating a dangerous situation.

It's been a long day, but they're still smiling

Waiting for their turn to move to Asakusa Shrine

I wish I had stayed until the very end.  The problem for me was that I had taken an enormous amount of pictures, over 1600 and they needed to sorted through and those that I wanted for this article had to found and edited which take a lot of time.  I decided to head home rather early which I now feel was a mistake. Maybe next year ...