Shinjuku’s hidden power spot, a spring festival of purification
A Shinto shrine located in Yochōmachi, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, and one of the seven Shinjuku Yamate Shichifukujin.
- Address: 8-5 Yochōmachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
- Phone Number: 03-3351-5875
- Access: 8-minute walk from Wakamatsu Kawada Station on the Toei Ōedo Line
- Festival Days: March 15th
Main Events and Attractions of the Festival
The Itsukushima Shrine Festival is a traditional festival held annually at the Itsukushima Shrine in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. The festival is dedicated to the enshrined deity, Ichikishimahime-no-Mikoto, and features various events and attractions that draw many visitors each year.
One of the main highlights of the festival is the Mikoshi Procession, where a portable shrine, or mikoshi, is carried through the streets surrounding the shrine. The mikoshi is believed to house the spirit of the deity, and the procession is a way to pay respects and seek blessings.
- Overview: A parade of portable shrines carrying the spirits of the deities
- Features: Elaborately decorated mikoshi paraded through the streets
Another popular attraction at the festival is the Kagura Performance, a traditional Japanese dance and music ritual. Kagura is performed by shrine maidens, or miko, and is believed to bring good fortune and purification to those who witness it.
- Overview: A sacred dance and music ritual performed by shrine maidens
- Features: Graceful movements and enchanting melodies
The Shishimai Dance is a lively and energetic dance performed by a costumed lion, or shishi. The dance is said to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck, and it is a crowd-pleaser at the festival.
- Overview: A dynamic dance performed by a costumed lion
- Features: Acrobatic movements and colorful costumes
Yatai and Food Stalls
No Japanese festival is complete without yatai, or food stalls, and the Itsukushima Shrine Festival is no exception. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of traditional Japanese festival foods, such as takoyaki, yakisoba, and cotton candy.
- Overview: A lively atmosphere with food stalls lining the streets
- Features: A diverse selection of traditional Japanese festival foods
Blessings and Deities
The Itsukushima Shrine Festival is dedicated to the enshrined deity, Ichikishimahime-no-Mikoto, also known as Benten, the goddess of good fortune, wealth, and prosperity. Worshipping Benten is believed to bring blessings in various aspects of life, including business success, financial stability, and good luck in relationships.
- Deity: Ichikishimahime-no-Mikoto (Benten)
- Blessings: Good fortune, wealth, prosperity, business success, financial stability, relationship luck
Origin and History
The origins of the Itsukushima Shrine Festival can be traced back to the Heian period (794-1185). According to historical records, the shrine was established in 1086 by Minamoto no Yoshiie, a renowned samurai general, to pray for victory in the Gosannen War, a series of conflicts that took place in northeastern Japan. After his successful campaign, Yoshiie returned to the shrine and dedicated a portion of his spoils to express his gratitude. Over the centuries, the shrine and its festival have continued to attract devotees and visitors seeking blessings and good fortune.
- Founder: Minamoto no Yoshiie
- Establishment Year: 1086
- Purpose: To pray for victory in the Gosannen War
Tips and Notes for Visitors
To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience at the Itsukushima Shrine Festival, here are some tips and notes for visitors:
- The festival takes place on March 15th, 2024.
- The festival attracts a large number of visitors, so it is advisable to arrive early to avoid crowds.
- The festival grounds are mostly outdoors, so dress comfortably and prepare for the weather conditions.
- There will be many food stalls offering a variety of traditional Japanese festival foods. Cash is the preferred method of payment, so it is recommended to bring some yen with you.
- The festival is a great opportunity to experience traditional Japanese culture, including music, dance, and crafts. Take some time to explore the festival grounds and enjoy the atmosphere.
There is no dedicated parking lot for the Itsukushima Shrine Festival. However, there are several coin-operated parking lots in the surrounding area. It is recommended to arrive early to secure a parking spot.
- No dedicated parking lot for the festival
- Use nearby coin-operated parking lots
- Arrive early to secure a parking spot
Popular Stalls and Food Carts in Recent Years
|Type of Stall
|A staple at Japanese festivals. Characterized by a crispy outside and a creamy inside.
|A simple yet popular snack of hot potatoes lavishly topped with melted butter.
|Small castella cakes, sweet and fluffy treats enjoyed by children and adults alike.
|Grilled Ayu with Salt
|Fresh ayu fish grilled whole with salt, a savory taste of Japanese summer.
|A unique gourmet item influenced by foreign cuisine, with a chewy skin wrapping the filling.
|A Japanese grilled dish where you often choose your own ingredients for a personalized flavor.
|A fluffy, sweet snack that’s extremely popular with children.
|A banana coated in chocolate, a fun and visually appealing dessert.
|Various types of ingredients skewered and grilled, an easy-to-enjoy snack.
|Fried noodles mixed with a special sauce, a fast food favorite in Japan.