An open-air market on the day of the rooster with bamboo rakes? It must be Tori no Ichi, Asakusa’s top midnight to midnight festival.
As the year quickly comes to an end, Tori no Ichi, originally a harvest themed festival, heralds the end of November. It’s a chance for people to give thanks for the health and safety of their families and pray for good fortune and happiness in the year to come. The day of the rooster (tori) in the Chinese calendar comes every 12 days in November, and the market falls on the second one, which is November 20.
The festival has been held in the Asakusa area since the Edo period at Ootori Jinja Shrine and Chokokuji Temple. The festivities go on for a full 24 hours and pretty bamboo rakes (kumade) decorated in gold and silver are sold at various stalls in the shrine and temple compound.
In the Edo period, a traditional food specialty called kashira no imo (steamed taro) was very popular and sold to people who hoped to succeed in business. Nowadays, only one shop sells it, but it is worth seeking out. Other delicacies to sample include a Japanese confectionary called kirizansho (a rice cake containing Sichuan pepper) and awa daifuku, a soft rice cake filled with red bean paste.
Whether you come for the cakes or the good luck, this open air market may help you get into the holiday spirit.
When: Nov. 20, all day
Where: Juzaisan Chokokuji (see map)
Main image: miurahr on Flickr