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JUNE 2018


(Please confirm information before you go at the phone numbers listed)


(*) covered events
1 Fri *Itako Ayame Matsuri Yomeiri Bune (bridal boat) May 26 through June 24
    *Katsushika Shobu (Iris) Festival June 1 through June 20 at Mizumoto Park, Katsushika-ku
    *Horikiri Shobuen Shobu (Iris) Festival June 1 through June 20 at Horikiri, Katsushika-ku
2 Sat *Itako Yomeiribune (bridal boat)
    *Tenno-sai Grand Festival of Susanoo Shrine at Minami Senju
3 Sun *Itako Yomeiribune (bridal boat)
    *Tenno-sai Grand Festival of Susanoo Shrine at Minami Senju
4 Mon  
5 Tue  
6 Wed *Kiyari Ondo Memorial Ceremony 11 a.m. at Mimeguri Shrine in Sumida-ku
    *Itako Yomeiribune (bridal boat)
7 Thu  
8 Fri *Sanno Matsuri Jinkosai Grand Parade
9 Sat *Tsukiji Namiyoke Shrine Grand Festival
     *Tenno-sai Festival at Shinagawa Shrine in Kita Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku.
    *Itako Yomeiribune (bridal boat)
    *Manto Mikoshi of Sumida Inari Shrine on 9 and 10
    *Sanno Matsuri Ujiko Town Mikoshi Rengo Togyo Parade
    *Tenno-sai Festival at Ebara Shrine in Shinagawa-ku
10 Sun *Night Festival of Torigoe Shrine
    *Sanno Matsuri Shitamachi Rengo Togyo at Kyobashi-Nihonbashi
    *Tsukiji Namiyoke Shrine Grand Festival
    *Tenno-sai Festival at Shinagawa Shrine in Kita Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku.
    *Itako Yomeiribune (bridal boat)
    *Manto Mikoshi of Sumida Inari Shrine on 9 and 10
    *Tenno-sai Festival at Ebara Shrine in Shinagawa-ku (Funa Togyo)
11 Mon  
12 Tue  
13 Wed *Itako Yomeiribune (bridal boat)
14 Thu  
15 Fri  
16 Sat *Itako Yomeiribune (bridal boat)
17 Sun *Itako Yomeiribune (bridal boat)
18 Mon  
19 Tue  
20 Wed *Itako Yomeiribune (bridal boat)
21 Thu  
22 Fri  
23 Sat *Hoozuki Ichi (Chinese Lantern Plant Fair) at Atago Shrine, Minato-ku.
    *Itako Yomeiribune (bridal boat)
    *Asakura Ofujisan Uekiichi
24 Sun *Hyakumanben Nembutsu (A million prayer service) at Shinshoji Temple in Sugamo
    *Hoozuki Ichi (Chinese Lantern Plant Fair) at Atago Shrine, Minato-ku.
    *Asakura Ofujisan Uekiichi
    *Itako Yomeiribune (bridal boat)
25 Mon *Asakura Ofujisan Uekiichi
26 Tue  
27 Wed  
28 Thu  
29 Fri *Gujo Odori in Aoyama at Chichibu-no-Miya Rugby Field Parking Lot in Aoyama, Minato-ku.
30 Sat *Sengen Shrine Nobori Matsuri
    *Nagoshi-no-Harae Chinowa Kuguri (Purificationd toward Summer) at Torigoe Shrine
    *Oyama-biraki (Mountain Opening of Fuji) Ceremony at Ono Teruzaki Shrine
    *Gujo Odori in Aoyama at Chichibu-no-Miya Rugby Field Parking Lot in Aoyama, Minato-ku.

Tenno-sai of Ebara Shrine
June 9 and 10 in 2018
Ebara Jinja Shrine, Shinagawa-ku.

Ebara Shrine is located on the route of the old Tokaido (Highway) connecting Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto. The Emperor Meiji visited the shrine on his way to from Kyoto to Tokyo just before to take up his residence in Tokyo.

There will be a grand parade of more than ten town mikoshis gathering at the shrine from 9 a.m. on both days, Saturday and Sunday.

Unique about the mikoshi of Ebara Shrine is a mask put on the roof of the mikoshi. The face represents Susanoo, a mighty god in Japan. The legend tells the mask was found by a fisherman drifting on the shore and was dedicated to the Ebara Shrine. Another characteristics of the mikoshi of the Ebara Shrine is a drum attached to it..

URL: http://www.ebarajinja.org/top.html
Access: Shinbanba Station on Keikyu Line.
Telephone: 03-3471-3457
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Susanoo Shrine Tennoh-sai Grand Festival
June 2 (Sat) and 3 (Sun)
Susanoo Shrine, Minami Senju, Arakawa-ku.

The Major festival is held once in three years and this year falls on a majojr festival year in 2018. The shrine mikoshi is carried out of the shrine at 7 a.m. on June 2 and return to the shrine at 7 p.m. on June 3. Highlight of the festival comes on Sunday from 5 p.m. along the street of "Kotsu Dori" near JR Minami Senju Station.

The shrine is dedicated to the Shinto god Susanoo who is known for his braveness destroying the eight-headed dragon which brought sorrow to the people of Izumo (now Shimane prefecture). Susanoo is a spirited, active and adventurous god.

Carriers swing the heavy mikoshi to left and right violently. People believe the more they jostle the mikoshi, the more Susanoo pleases since he is a fierce god. It is dangerous to handle a mikoshi in such a way and requires trainings and a good teamworkship.

URL: http://www.susanoo.or.jp/tennosai/index.html
Access: Minami Senju Station on JR Joban Line, on Subway Hibiya Line and on Tsukuba Express.
Telephone: 03-3891-8281
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Susanoo Shrine Tennoh-sai Grand Festival
June 3 (Sun), 2018
Susanoo Shrine, Minami Senju, Arakawa-ku.

The Major festival is held once in three years and this year falls on a majojr festival year in 2018. Highlight of the festival comes on Sunday from 5 p.m. along the street of "Kotsu Dori" near JR Minami Senju Station.

The shrine is dedicated to the Shinto god Susanoo who is known for his braveness destroying the eight-headed dragon which brought sorrow to the people of Izumo (now Shimane prefecture). Susanoo is a spirited, active and adventurous god.

Carriers swing the heavy mikoshi to left and right violently. People believe the more they jostle the mikoshi, the more Susanoo pleases since he is a fierce god. It is dangerous to handle a mikoshi in such a way and requires trainings and a good teamworkship.

URL: http://www.susanoo.or.jp/tennosai/index.html
Access: Minami Senju Station on JR Joban Line, on Subway Hibiya Line and on Tsukuba Express.
Telephone: 03-3891-8281
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Suigo-Itako Ayame Matsuri and Yomeiribune (Bridal boat)
Itako, Ibaraki Prefecture
Ayame Matsuri (Iris Festival) of Itako will be held May 26 through June 24 in 2018. Yomeiribune (Bridal boat) is seen on Wednesday at 11 a.m., on Saturday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (Ayame flowers will be in full bloom around the first week of June this year in 2018)

Itako is a city located at the southeast part of Ibaraki Prefecture, 80 kilo meters east of Tokyo. This area including Itako, Kashima and Sawara has many rivers, canals and lakes and is called "Suigo" the land with water.

Itako is famous for "ayame"Japanese iris.
In Maekawa Ayame Garden located near the Maekawa River which flows into Hitachi-Tone River, more than one million Japanese irises put flowers in June enjoying visitors. Itako Yomeiribune (Bridal boat) is a reenactment of a bride who goes to a groom's house for wedding with her parents on a boat at the time when a boat was an important mean of transportation in this area.

URL: Itako Ayame Matsuri
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/F63Pn
Access: Itako Station on JR Kashima Line
Telephone: 0299-63-1187
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Sankeien Garden
Honmoku, Naka-ku, Yokohama
Hydrangea in full bloom as of June 6 in 2018.

Sankeien is a traditional and typical Japanese-style garden designed and landscaped by Sankei Hara (1868-1939) a wealthy businessman in the silk trade. He reconstructed buildings of historic importance relocated from places such as Kyoto and Kamakura in this garden and opened to the public as "Sankeien" in 1906. In the garden of 1,750,000 square meters, seven old buildings of high historic value are skillfully arranged in harmony with the seasonal changes of the natural scenery. The Second World War caused great damage, and in 1953 the property was transferred from the Hara family to the care of the Sankeien Hoshokai Foundation. Restoration works were carried out, and five years later, Sankeien had nearly recovered its former appearance. (from Sankeien English pamphlet)

URL: http://www.sankeien.or.jp/
Address: 58-1 Sannotani, Honmoku, Naka-ku, Yokohama.
Access: Take municipal buses labeled Route 58,99 or 101 from JR Negishi Station (Keihin Tohoku Line) at bus stop No. 1 and get off at Honmoku and 10 minutes walk.
Telephone: 045-621-0634/5; Admission: 500 yen; Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Closed Dec. 29,30 and 31.
(photos taken June 4, 2009)
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Iris Festival at Horikiri Shobu-en (Iris Garden)
June 1 through June 20 in 2018 (In full bloom as of May 29
Horikiri, Katsushika-ku.

Horikiri Shobuen is a small but a famous iris garden since the time of Edo. Japan's famous shobu (iris) flowers of the Horikiri Shobuen is depicted in ukiyo-e by Hiroshige.

Irises are known as the flower for Boys. On May 5, boys used to take baths in water strewn with iris leaves. The water loving plant puts flowers when Japan enters "tsuyu" rainy season in June. It would be even more beautiful when the flowers are seen in rain.

Katsushika-ku has another big iris garden at Mizumoto Koen Park (a bus from JR Kanamachi Station).

URL: Horikiri Shobuen
Nearest Station: Horikiri Shobuen on Keisei Line. 15 minutes walk.
Admission: Free
Open: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. all week
Admission: free
Telephone: 03-3697-5237
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Katsushika Shobu (Iris) Festival
June 1 through June 20 in 2018 (80% blooming as of May 30)
Mizumoto Park, Katsushika-ku.

Hanashobu (Iris ensata) were grown as many as 200 varieties during the Edo period (1600-1868). They are suitable to cultivate in swampy land and the delicate and elegant qualities of flowers have been loved by the Japanese people.

The Mizumoto Park is located close to the Edogawa River. It is a wetland and covers an area of 68.2 hectres. In rainy month of June, 1,4000 irises of around 100 types are in full bloom delighting the visitors. On Saturdays and Sundays during the festival, many attractions are scheduled.

URL: Mizumoto
Address: Higashi-Kanamachi, Katsushika-ku
Access: 10 minutes walk from Shibarare Jizo stop on the Keisei Bus (bound for Togasaki-soshajo) from South Exit of Kanamachi Station on JR Joban Line.
Telephone: 03-3607-8321 (Mizumoto Park)
Admission: Free
(Photos taken June 10)
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Koishikawa Korakuen Hanashobu (Iris) Garden
More or less 600 stocks of Japanese irises fully bloom and extend all around, distinguishing the field view.
Hana Shobu full blooming as of May 31, 2018.

Koishikawa Korakuen was the Edo residence of Yorifusa Tokugawa - the founder of the Mito Tokugawa family. The garden was completed by the second clan ruler Mitsukuni Tokugawa (1628-1701). The garden features a central pond and hills, making it perfect for a stroll. When Mitsukini set about constructing the garden, he incorporated some concepts of the Chinese Confucian scholar Shushunsui of the Ming dynasty, including a garden reproduction of Seiko Lake (China), a "Full Moon Bridge" and other features with cultural origins in China. Mitsukuni loved ume (Prunus mume) blossoms so much that he named this ume grove "bairi" (home of ume). There are 20 types of blooming ume trees in the grove.
(Quoted from Koishikawa Korakuen Pamphlet)

URL: Koishikawa Korakuen
Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Closed: Year-end holidays Dec. 29 through Jan. 1)
Admission: 300 yen
Address: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku
Access: Iidabashi Stn on Toei O-edo Line/ Iidabashi Stn. on JR Sobu-Chuo Line.
Telephone: 03-3811-3015
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Meiji Jingu Shrine Inner Garden (Gyoen) Hanashobu (Iris) Garden and Water Lily Pond
Hanashobu at the Meiji Gyoen Garden at 80-90% blooming as of June 13, 2018.

The shrine is dedicated to the momory of the Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. The shrine was built on November 1, 1920 after Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912 and his wife in 1914. Nov. 3 is the birthday of Emperor Meiji.

The inner Garden is the only part that had existed long before the foundation of Meiji Jingu. In the early Edo Period (1603-1867), this area was the garden of Lord Kato of Kumamoto. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the area became the property of the Imperial Family and was named Yoyogi Gyoen. Emperor Meiji expressed great pleasure at this tranquil garden and composed a Waka poetry in its honor: Utsusemino Yoyogi no sato wa Shinzukanite Miyako no hokano Kokochi koso sure. (Deep in the woodland of Yoyogi, the quietitude creates an illusion of seclusion from the city)
(quoted from the Meiji Shrine Inner Garden pamphlet)

Meiji Jingu Shrine
Address: 1-1 Kamizono-cho, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
Admission: 500 yen
Open: May 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., June 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (Open throughout the year)
Access: Harajuku Station on JR Yamanote Line and Meiji Jingue Mae Station on Subway Chiyoda Line
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/qrH1t
Telephone: 03-3379-5511
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Meiji Jingu Shrine Inner Garden (Gyoen) Hanashobu (Iris) Garden and Water Lily Pond
Hanashobu at the Meiji Gyoen Garden at 80-90% blooming as of June 13, 2018.

The shrine is dedicated to the momory of the Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. The shrine was built on November 1, 1920 after Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912 and his wife in 1914. Nov. 3 is the birthday of Emperor Meiji.

The inner Garden is the only part that had existed long before the foundation of Meiji Jingu. In the early Edo Period (1603-1867), this area was the garden of Lord Kato of Kumamoto. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the area became the property of the Imperial Family and was named Yoyogi Gyoen. Emperor Meiji expressed great pleasure at this tranquil garden and composed a Waka poetry in its honor: Utsusemino Yoyogi no sato wa Shinzukanite Miyako no hokano Kokochi koso sure. (Deep in the woodland of Yoyogi, the quietitude creates an illusion of seclusion from the city)
(quoted from the Meiji Shrine Inner Garden pamphlet)

Meiji Jingu Shrine
Address: 1-1 Kamizono-cho, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
Admission: 500 yen
Open: May 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., June 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (Open throughout the year)
Access: Harajuku Station on JR Yamanote Line and Meiji Jingue Mae Station on Subway Chiyoda Line
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/qrH1t
Telephone: 03-3379-5511
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Meigetsu-in
Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture
Hydrangea in full bloom as of June 6 in 2018
Meigetsu-in Temple is famous as "ajisai-dera" (hydrangea temple) in Kamakura. The colour of Ajisai flowers is said to change from green and yellow to a blue and almost purple according to the qualities (acidities) of soils. Acid soils produce more bluish blossoms and alkaline more pink. Characteristics of the hydrangea at Meigetsu-in are that they are all blue in color and the plants are original Japanese.

Address: 189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: Kita-Kamakura Station on JR Yokosuka Line and 10 minutes walk.
Telephone: 0467-24-3437
Admission: 300 yen
Open: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (during hydrange season)
(photos taken June 6)
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Jojuin
Gokurakuji, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture
(Due to constructions, the hydrangea are mostly removed - 2018)

Jojuin Temple is located near Gokurakuji Station of Enoshima Dentetsu Line in Kamakura. The temple is on the top of a hill close to the ocean. On both sides of a narrow path running down to the coast are hydrangea flowers of various colors. Enjoy a grand view!

The temple is a walking distance from another famous ajisai (hydrangea) temple Hase Kannon.

Address: 1-1-5 Gokurakuji, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: Gokurakuji Station on Enoshima Dentetsu Line
Telephone: 0467-22-3401
Admission: Free
(photos taken June 6)
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Hasedera (Hase Kan-non)
Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture
Hydrangea in full bloom as of June 6 in 2018

Hasedera is a big temple of Jodo Sect of Japanese Buddhism and probably is the most famous hydrangea viewing spot in Kamakura. It deserves the fame in scales as well as in varieties of the plant. Along a hillside are huge amount of hydrangeas.

Inside the temple are the beautiful Japanese garden, a pond, a giant statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, historical buildings, rows of small statues of jizo (the guardian deity of children), etc.

The temple is close to the Daibutsu of Kamakura.

Address: 3-11-2 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: Hase Station on Enoshima Dentetsu Line
Telephone: 0467-23-3050 (Kamakura City Sightseeing Association)
Admission: 300 yen
(photos taken June 6)
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Hydrangea and Iris Flowers at Hondoji Temple in Kitakogane, Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture.
Hydrangea blooming full as of June 17 in 2018

Hondoji is a temple of the Nichren sect buddhism and is known as "Ajisai dera" (Hydrangea temple) in this region.

In June, thousands of hydrangea and iris flowers are in full bloom. Both water-loving plants are most beautifully seen when it is slightly raining.

The temple offers beautiful flowers in all seasons. Cherry blossoms in spring, colored leaves in the autumn.

Address: 63 Hiraga, Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture.
Access: Kita Kogane Station on JR Joban Line 15 minutes walk
Telephone: 047-346-2121 (Hondoji Temple) 047-341-0405
Admission: 500 yen
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Shinagawa Shrine Ten-no sai
June 9 (Sat) and 10 (Sun) in 2018
Shinagawa Shrine in Kita Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku.

People carry heavy mikoshis up and down the long and steep stairs of the shrine which sits on top of a hill.

On Saturday, town mikoshis go up and down the hill from 3 p.m. (children's mikoshi) and from 5 p.m. (adult's mikoshi) and on Sunday the big shrine mikoshi go down the hill at 8 a.m. and go up the hill at 7 p.m. to return to the shrine.

Address: 3-7-15 Kita Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku
Access: Shin Bamba Station on Keikyu Line. 1 minutes walk.
Telephone: 03-3474-5575 (Shinagawa Shrine)
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Ebara Shrine Tenno-sai
Funa Togyo Ships arrive at Odaiba on June 10, Sunday at 11 a.m. in 2018.

Ebara Shrine is located on the route of the old Tokaido (Highway) connecting Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto. The Emperor Meiji visited the shrine on his way to from Kyoto to Tokyo just before to take up his residence in Tokyo.

Unique about the mikoshi of Ebara Shrine is a mask put on the roof of the mikoshi. The face represents Susanoo, a mighty god in Japan. The legend tells the mask was found by a fisherman drifting on the shore and was dedicated to the Ebara Shrine. Another characteristics of the mikoshi of the Ebara Shrine is a drum attached to it.
Access: Shinbanba Station on Keikyu Line.
Telephone: 03-3471-3457
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Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri (Hydrangea Festival)
June 9 (Sat) through June 17 (Sun) in 2018
Hydrangea in full bloom as of June 6 in 2018
Hakusan Jinja Shrine, Bunkyo-ku.

In the old days, Ajisai was called Nanabake (seven changes) because it was believed the colour of the plant changes seven times. The colours of Ajisai change from green and yellow to a blue and almost purple according to the qualities (acidities) of soils. Acid soils produce more bluish blossoms and alkaline more pink. The plant grows almost all over the country and is one of the most beautiful flowering bushes of Japan. Japan is rich in hydrangea varieties, with over 20 species and the Japanese hydrangea and varieties developed from it is the most common hydrangea grown in gardens throughout the world.

URL: Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri
Access: Hakusan Station on Subway Toei Mita Line and Hon-Komagome Station on Subway Nanboku Line.
Telephones: 03-5803-1174 (Bunkyo-ku Kanko Koryuka)/ 03-3811-6568 (Hakusan Jinja Shrine)
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Night Festival of Torigoe Shrine
June 10 (Sun)
Torigoe Shrine, Taito-ku.

The mikoshi of the shrine probably is heaviest in Tokyo weighing about 4 tons and it is carried by 150 to 200 people. This is a special mikoshi event worth seeing.. At night, the lanterns of the mikoshi is lit up and many takahari chochin (the lanterns held up high) create an air of fantasy. Also accompanied to the mikoshi are a long nosed Tengu - a mythical dwellers of forests and Tekomai - a group of geisha girls walking in procession in a costume made up with a masculine trouser, men's hairdo, a red paper lantern imprinted with their names and a metal wand in their right hand. Mikoshi leaves the shrine early in the morning at 6:30 a.m. and after parading parish towns returns to the shrine at 9 p.m.

Website: Torigoe Matsuri
Access: Asakusabashi Station on JR Sobu Line. 10 minutes walk.
Telephone: 03-3851-5033 (Torigoe Shrine)
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Kiyari Ondo Memorial Ceremony
June 6 (Wed) at 11 a.m. (Every year the same day of the month).
2-5-17 Mukojima, Sumida-ku

Kiyari Ondo was originally a lumber-carriers' chant sung when they were pulling heavy construction materials such as timbers and stones in the old time. During the Edo period, the songs became popular among machi hikeshi (local fire brigade). Machi Hikeshi consisted of tobi (scaffolding men) of the town and the tradition has been preserved by them until today. Today, the songs were sung in festivals, celemonies and many other events.

URL: Mimeguri Jinja
Access: Honjo Azumabashi Station on Toei Subway Asakusa Line
Telephone: 03-3622-2672 (Mimeguri Jinja)
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Sanno Matsuri

This year 2018 falls on a major festival year and there will be a grand parade of Jinkosai on June 8. The parade visit Sakashitamon of the Imperial Palace at 11:35 a.m.


The history of Hie Shrine goes back to the beginning of the Kamakura Period when a man named "Edo" built a Hie Shrine for the guardian deity of his residence on grounds of the present Imperial Palace. In 1478, Ota Dokan (15th century) constructed Edo Castle on the site of the present Imperial Palace and erected a Sanno-Hie Shrine in the compound for a guardian deity of the castle. Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa who opened Edo Shogunate (1603-1867) became the patron of the Hie Shrine and the citizens of Edo had the strong faith in Hie Shrine. The shrine was moved out of Edo castle later and settled in the present place in 1659.

URL: http://www.tenkamatsuri.jp/
Access: Tameike Sanno Station on Ginza Line and Nanboku Line. Kokkai Gijido-mae Station on Subway Chiyoda Line.
Telephone: 03-3581-2471 (Hie Jinja Shrine)
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Sanno Matsuri - Grand Festival of Hie Shrine

This year 2018 falls on a major festival year and town ujiko mikoshis Rengo Togyo climbing up steep slope to the shrine toward the evening at around 5 p.m. on June 9.


Being ujiko (parishioners) of the Hie Shrine in this area, Hirakawacho, Kojimachi, Bancho, Kudan etc., means something special. They are the people who live closest to the imperial palace. In the areas are the diet buildings, government buildings, embassies, residences of high government officials and bureaucrats etc.

Naturally, the atmosphere of the festival performed by these people is a lot different from the mikoshi festivals in other areas of Tokyo. It is performed with dignity.

URL: http://www.tenkamatsuri.jp/
Access: Tameike Sanno Station on Ginza Line and Nanboku Line. Kokkai Gijido-mae Station on Subway Chiyoda Line.
Telephone: 03-3581-2471 (Hie Jinja Shrine)
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Sanno Matsuri - Shitamachi Rengo Mikoshi Parade at Nihonbashi and Kyobashi Area on June 10, 12 noon- 2 p.m.

This year 2018 falls on a major festival year and there will be a joint town mikoshi parade beginning from around noon at Kyobashi and proceed to Nihonbashi on June 10.

Until the middle of Meiji (1868-1912), Nihonbashi area was the business and shopping center of Tokyo. District name Nihonbashi came from the Nihonbashi Bridge which was first constructed in 1603 when the Tokugawa shogunate opened its government in Edo (Tokyo). The construction of the bridge gave significance to the district and it became the center of Edo as well as the whole country. There still are prominent department stores auch as Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi and many long-established stores such as Maruzen bookstores, Meidi-ya, etc. along the Chuo Dori Street.

Nihonbashi district and the Hie Shrine are remote. They are located almost on the opposite side across the imperial palace. The parish of Hie Shrine covers all the towns around the Edo castle since the time of Edo.

URL: http://www.tenkamatsuri.jp/
Access: Kyobashi Station on Subway Ginza Line.
Telephone: 03-3581-2471 (Hie Jinja Shrine)
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Manto Mikoshi of Sumida Inari Shrine
June 9 (Sat) and 10 (Sun)
4-38-13 Sumida, Sumida-ku.

A colorful Manto mikoshi (lighted mikoshi) will parade through the neighboring area of the Sumida shrine from around 6:30 p.m. on both days. On Sunday, there will be a parade of shrine mikoshi in daytime.

The shrine was built in the 16th century by Zenzaemon Egawa who fled here from Izu after he was defeated in the war. He developed the area and the villagers built a mikoshi in honor to his memory. However, the poor villagers could not afford a fine mikoshi and built a mikoshi which was decorated by lanterns. Today, the shrine has a fine regular mikoshi which is carried on Sunday in the daytime.

Website: Sumida Inari
Access: Kanegafuchi Station on Tobu Isezaki Line from Asakusa. 10 minutes walk.
Telephone: 03-3611-7846 (Sumida Inari Shrine)
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Tsukiji Namiyoke Shrine Grand Festival
June 9 (Sat) and June 10 (Sun)
Namiyoke Shrine, Tsukiji, Chuo-ku.

This year falls on a major festival yea and there will be a parade of Giant Shishi Mikoshi of the shrine, Yakuyoke Tenjo Mikoshi and Ohaguro Female Shishi Mikoshi on June 9 (Saturday) from 2 p.m. and Joint Town Mikoshi Parade on June 10 (Sunday) from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Though shishi is usually understood as a lion, it is an imaginary beast. Shishi is believed to have power to repel evil spirits and protect children from the misfortune. Most often seen are a pair of shishi stone statues standing at the gates of Japanese shinto shrines. They are guarding the shrines.

The grand festival of Namiyoke Shrine is held once in three years and this year is the major festival year.

Website: Namiyoke Shishimatsuri
Access: Tsukiji Station on Subway Hibiya Line
Telephone: 03-3541-8451 (Namiyoke Jinja)
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Urayasu Sanja Matsuri
June 18 (Sat) and 19 (Sun), 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Grand Festival comes once in four years and the next grand festival will be in 2020.

Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture (Urayasu is very close city to Tokyo located just across the Edogawa River which seperates it from Edogawa-ku of Tokyo)

More than 100 mikoshis including big mikoshis of three major shrines in Urayasu - Horie, Nekozane and Todaijima parade the town. At Urayasu, carriers turn the mikoshis around and swing them down shouting "mawase! mawase! (turn! turn!)" "maida! maida! (washoi! washoi).

URL: Urayasu Sanja Matsuri
Access: Urayasu Station on Subway Tozai Line.
Telephone: 047-354-5111 (Urayasu Kanko Kyokai)
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Hoozuki Ichi (Chinese Lantern Plant Fair)
June 23 (Sat) and 24 (Sun)
Atago Shrine, 1-5-3 Atago, Minato-ku.

Hoozuki belongs to the eggplant species, and is commonly known as Chinese lantern plant. It bears white blossoms in early summer, and the calyx grows into a bag as the berry inside ripens. When the calyx bag is opened there is a perfectly round red berry, just like a ripe cherry. Hoozuki became a toy of Japanese girls in the past. Taking the red berry out of the calyx bag, a girl bore a hole at the bottom and slowly squeeze the seeds out of the hole. She then has hollow round soft ball with a tiny hole. When she squeezes it against her teeth and lips, it makes a faint but pleasing sound.

The 23rd and 24th are the days of "Sen nichi mairi." It is believed people who visit a temple or shrine on either day, the god bestows the same benefits one visits the shrine a thousand days.

Long and steep stairs of Atago Shrine is known by a legend that samurai Magaki Heikuro successfully rode his horse up the stairs to deliver plum blossoms to the shogun.

Chinowa kuguri is a popular Shinto ceremony. By passing through the ring made of hay, it is believed they are given the protection from illness.

URL: http://www.atago-jinja.com/
Access: Kamiya Station on Subway Hibiya Line, Onarimon Station on Toei Subway Mita Line and Toranomon Station on Subway Ginza Line.
Telephone: 03-3431-0327 (Atago Jinja)
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Hyakumanben Nembutsu (A million prayer service)
June 24 (Sun) from 4:30 p.m. Every year the same day of the month.
Shinshoji Temple at Sugamo, Toshima-ku.

Hyakuman-ben means one million times and Nembutsu is a Buddhist invocation - a prayer to Amitabha "Namu Amida Dabutsu" (May the soul rest in peace).

In Hyakumanben Nembutsu, people gathered for the service sit in a circle in a big temple room or around a Buddha statue and Juzu (a Buddhist rosaries) measurring 50 to 60 feets with beads as big as four or five inches in diameter are placed on their laps and with a chant "Namu Ami Dabutsu" everyone moves the bead on his or her lap to the next person. In the past the service sometimes continued all night.

Address: 3-21-21 Sugamo, Toshima-ku
Access: Sugamo Station on JR Yamanote Line
Telephone: 03-3918-4068
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Gujo Odori in Aoyama
June 29 (Fri) and 30 (Sat) from 5 p.m. at Chichibu-no-Miya Rugby Field Parking Lot inside the Meiji Jingu Outer Garden in Aoyama, Minato-ku.

Gujo Odori in Aoyama heralds bon odori dances in Tokyo. The Gujo-Odori dance which used to be held at Baiso-in Temple in Aoyama (a small yet a beautiful temple located in the midst of the fashionable town of Aoyama in Tokyo) is now moved the venue to the Chichibu-no-Miya Rugby Field since 2010 for a larger space.

Gujo Odori is a variety of bon odori dance originating in Gujo-Hachiman, Gifu prefecture. The music players, the singers and the insturumental players are invited from Gujo. Everybody can join the dance. Time: 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Fri. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sat.

Website: Bon Odori in Aoyama
Nearest Stn.: Gaien-mae on Subway Ginza Line. 1 minute walk.
Telephone: 03-5777-8600 (Aoyama Gaien-Mae Shopping Street Assn.)
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Nagoshi-no-Harae (Purification toward Summer)
June 30 (Sat)
Torigoe Shrine in Kuramae, Taito-ku.

The ritual is divided into two ceremonies. Chinowa Kuguri at 8 p.m. on June 30 (Sat) and Katashiro Nagashi on July 1 (Sun) (boats depart at Yanagibashi Bridge at 10 a.m.).

Nagoshi is an annual rite of purification ceremony of Shinto shrines held on the last day of the sixth month the other being Ooharae on New Year's Eve.

Common practice of Nagoshi is the rite of chinowa kuguri, in which the source of disease and defilement is believed to be eliminated by passing through a circle made of reeds.

Another variation Katashiro Nagashi takes place on the following day at Torigoe Shrine. The shrine distribute paper katashiro (paper cut in the shape of dolls) among their parishioners and the names and ages of family members are written on them, which are then returned to the shrine on June 30. When they return the Katashiro to the shrine, they breathe on the dolls to transfer all the impurities to the dolls. On the next morning, a Gozabune boat carrying katashiro dolls escorted by dozens of boats departs from Yanagibashi Bridge and will go down the Sumida River to cast the katashiro dolls into water.

Access: Asakusabashi Station on JR Sobu Line and 10 minutes walk.
Telephone: 03-3851-5033 (Torigoe Shrine)
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Asakusa Ofujisan Uekiichi
June 23 (Sat) and 24 (Sun)
Near Asakusa Sengen Shrine

The Ofujisan uekiichi (garden plant or tree fair) is one of the largest of its kind held in Tokyo. The timing is good. It is held during the tsuyu - a rainy season in Tokyo and the plants transplanted at this time of the year is said to grow well.

Asakusa Sengen Shrine is located along the street one block behind the Asakusa Sensoji Temple in front of the Asakusa Police.

Access: Asakusa Station on Subway Ginza Line, Asakusa Station on Tsukuba Express
Telephone: 03-5246-1111 (Taito Ward Office)

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Oyama-biraki (Mountain Opening Ceremony of Mt. Fuji in Tokyo) Ceremony
June 30 (Sat) at 10 a.m.
Ono Teruzaki Shrine in Shitaya, Taito-ku

Mt. Fuji is officially allowed to climb to the top of the mountain only for two months in a year July and August. Japan's highest mountain Fuji stands 3776 meters (12,388 feet). It is not an easy thing to climb the mountain even today and our ancestors living in Edo (Tokyo) came up with a good idea. They built "fujizuka" a miniature mountain in the image of Mt. Fuji in the precincts of shrines with stones they brought back from Mt. Fuji and people worshipped them. Fujizuka are found at many shrines in Tokyo today.

The Fujizuka of Ono Teruzaki Shrine was built in 1828 and is about 5 meters tall and about 16 meters in diameter. The Fujizuka is open on June 30 and July 1.

URL: http://onoteru.or.jp/
Address: 2-13-14 Shitaya, Taito-ku
Access: Iriya Station on Subway Hibiya Line
Telephone: 03-3872-5514
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Nobori Matsuri (Giant Banner Festival)
June 30 (Sat) from 6:45 a.m. to noon
This year 2018 falls on a major festival year.
Sengen Shrine, Shinozaki, Edogawa-ku

The shrine is the oldest shrine in Edogawa-ku. It was built in 938. The festival is held every two years on June 30 celebrating the official opening day of Mt. Fuji on July 1. Ten giant banners will be entering the shrine compound one after another carried by many people and hoisted.

Sengen (Asama) shrines scattered throughout the nation were built for the worship of Mt. Fuji.

At Sengen Shrine in Shinozaki, ten giant banners are put up in pray for a bumper crop on the eve of the Mt. Fuji opening day by the parishioners. A banner is 25 meters high and weighs about 1 ton taking 200 to 300 people to hoist a banner.

URL: http://www.shinozaki-sengenjinja.or.jp/
Address: 1-22 Kami-Shinozaki, Edogawa-ku
Access: Keisei Bus 72 Shinozaki Line from JR Koiwa Station - Get off at Sengen Shrine/ 10 minutes walk from Shinozaki Station on Metropolitan Subway Shinjuku Line
Telephone: 03-3679-6183 (Sengen Jinja)
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