Adventures in East Asia

Mikoshi preparations for the Sanja Matsuri Festival

Towards mid-afternoon of the first day of the Sanja Matsuri, we began to see Mikoshi being prepared around the streets of Asakusa. These portable Shinto shrines were mounted on several beams of wood and men were tying them down to keep them secure.


We knew that these Mikoshi were going to experience a bumpy ride the next day as they were to be paraded in and around the neighbourhoods that worship at the Asakusa-jinja (Asakusa Temple).


Here's a short video of the preparations:

Information about Mikoshi via Wikipedia

Shinto followers believe that the mikoshi shrines serve as the vehicle of a divine spirit in Japan at the time of a parade of deities. Often, the mikoshi resembles a miniature building, with pillars, walls, a roof, a veranda and a railing. Typical shapes are rectangles, hexagons, and octagons. The body, which stands on two or four poles (for carrying), is usually lavishly decorated, and the roof might hold a carving of a Phoenix.

During a matsuri, or Japanese festival, people bear a mikoshi on their shoulders by means of the two or four poles. They bring the mikoshi from the shrine, carry it around the neighborhoods that worship at the shrine, and in many cases leave it in a designated area, resting on blocks, for a time before returning it to the shrine. Some shrines have the custom of dipping the mikoshi in the water of a nearby lake, river or ocean. At certain festivals, the people who bear the mikoshi wave it wildly from side to side.

More on the Mikoshi Parade in following posts.


More photos of Mikoshi preparations on Flickr

Mikoshi Wikipedia source

This entry posted in : Culture. Events. Japan.

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