All About Japan

Intense Times at the Sanja Matsuri

Festivals Video Tokyo Asakusa

The Sanja Matsuri is one of the three great Shinto festivals of Tokyo, held in honor of the three men who founded Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa.

The festival is held on the third weekend in May at Asakusa Shrine (so not Senso-ji!), running from Friday to Sunday. It features dozens of mikoshi (portable shrines) carried by different groups from the various neighborhoods in the area, drawing some 2 million people annually. While in the past the Yakuza were known for showing off their full-body tattoos atop the various mikoshi, their presence has been reduced in recent years.

In the video above, YouTuber Sharla in Japan jumps into the thick of the action as revelers compete to have a chance to shoulder one of Asakusa Shrine's three official mikoshi on the final Sunday of the festival.