A Late Autumn Festival Suddenly Appearing in the Heart of the City! Introducing the Shinjuku Hanazono Shrine Tori no Ichi!

Location: 5-17-3 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Date: November 11 and 23, 2016 (Tori no Hi in November every year)

Access:

[Train]

Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Fukutoshin Line, Toei Shinjuku Line “Shinjuku-sanchome Station” Exit E2, 0 minutes on foot

JR, Odakyu Line, Keio Line “Shinjuku Station” East Exit, 10 minutes on foot

[Car]

7 minutes from Shinjuku Exit on Shuto Expressway Route 4 Shinjuku Line

http://www.hanazono-jinja.or.jp/mt/page/a3.html (Official Hanazono Shrine Website – Tori no Ichi)

“Tori no Ichi” is an annual event held at various Ohtori Shrines, Tori Temples, and Otori Shrines nationwide (mainly in the Kanto region) on the Days of the Rooster in November.

There are usually three Days of the Rooster in November, but in some years, there are only two due to the calendar.

The most lively day is the third Tori no Ichi, called “San no Tori,” which is even more vibrant than the first and second Tori no Ichi.

Additionally, the shrines and temples that host Tori no Ichi worship Prince Yamato Takeru, who is revered as a deity of military fortune, good luck, and business prosperity.

At Tori no Ichi, many more stalls are set up compared to other festivals, as evidenced by the sale of “engimono kumade” (lucky rakes) which symbolize gathering good fortune. This attracts a large crowd, making it one of the most lively winter festivals. The sense of urgency towards the year-end adds a different atmosphere compared to summer festivals. (From the ‘Festival Glossary’)

 

Now, let’s take a closer look at the Shinjuku Hanazono Shrine Tori no Ichi, one of the Three Great Tori no Ichi of Edo. Due to its convenient access within Tokyo, the Tori no Ichi at this shrine is crowded with many people every year, with attendance exceeding 600,000.

When it comes to festivals, many people look forward to the food stalls, and this festival has a large number of them.

Specifically, as you head east along Yasukuni Dori, the stalls start to line up from the traffic light in front of the Shinjuku Ward Office.

This street is usually crowded, but with the stalls taking up space and the large number of people, it became extremely congested.

However, not many people seemed to care about the festival’s details, and if you took the path towards the shrine (between the Lawson and FamilyMart tenants), the crowd was somewhat lessened.

Fortunately, the line of worshippers was not as long as at Asakusa’s Ohtori Shrine, fitting within the shrine’s grounds. If you have time, be sure to pay a visit.

The highlight of this festival is, of course, the dazzling sight of kumade (lucky rakes) being sold, but compared to other Tori no Ichi, the lanterns hanging around the main hall were particularly beautiful.

While many other Tori no Ichi also decorate with lanterns, this one had the largest number.

Many people came specifically to take photos of this scene.

If you’re looking for something to post on social media, definitely consider posting about this festival. You’re sure to get a big response.

If you want to enjoy the festival atmosphere while avoiding the crowds as much as possible, after exiting Shinjuku-sanchome Exit E2, head left towards the Seven-Eleven. The entrance opposite the Seven-Eleven also has stalls, and it seemed to be the least crowded.

This Tori no Ichi is a very accessible festival. If you’re close to your workplace or school, why not stop by on your way home? There are tables and chairs for parties, and freshly grilled snacks are available everywhere, so you’re sure to have a fun evening.

Notes:

  • If you encounter any issues, such as needing assistance with smoking areas, restrooms, or help for wheelchair users or those who need assistance, you might want to seek help from the people in front of the Hanazono Shrine Hall. They also provide guidance for lost persons.
  • Please refrain from eating or drinking in front of the shrine precincts, especially near the mikoshi (portable shrine) display. Some young couples were scolded for eating there.
  • If you come late, the Meiji Dori side tends to be less crowded than the Yasukuni Dori side, so you might want to head that way.

 

The Three Major Tori no Ichi of Edo:

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