Held on every odd numbered year, the Kanda Matsuri is one of the biggest festivals to experience in Tokyo! With over 200 portable shrines, parades, and a grand procession that marches through the streets of Tokyo, Kanda Matsuri is one event that you shouldn’t miss it!
Kanda Matsuri, Tokyo’s Traditional Festival
With over 400 years of history in Tokyo area, Kanda Matsuri is one of the three big festivals that are held in Tokyo, along with the Sanno Matsuri and Fukugawa Matsuri. Held in the middle of May at Kanda Myojin Shrine, Kanda Matsuri is a festival to celebrate good fortune, wealth, and health of the people.
There are minor events that lead up to the festival itself, but the main events occur during Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the main procession starts early in the morning where the three deities of Kanda Myojin, Ebisu, Daikokuten, and Taira no Masakado, are represented by beautifully decorated mikoshi.
These mikoshi are then taken through the streets of Tokyo, visiting places such as Akihabara, Nihombashi, and even passing by the Tokyo Imperial Palace. There are many musicians, dancers, and even samurai-clad horse riders during the event.
On Sunday, every one of the local neighborhoods bring out their local guardians in their own mikoshi to be displayed throughout the local streets, eventually making their way to Kanda Myojin in the evening. It is a breathtaking display to experience as you can see all the local townspeople come out to celebrate!
Kanda Matsuri Facts and Trivia
Did you know that the Kanda Matsuri dates way back to the 17th century in the early 1600s, when Tokugawa Ieyasu won an important battle at Sekigahara? It continued throughout the years of the Edo period and evolved into the festival we experience today!
The Kanda Matsuri is also a shared with other major festivals in Tokyo. Kanda Matsuri is held on odd number years, whereas the Sanno Matsuri is only held on even number years!
Over 200 mikoshi, portable shrines, are carried throughout the local streets and beyond the Kanda area on their tour around the local towns of Tokyo.
Anime is quite popular at the Kanda Myojin! Specifically, the anime called “Love Live!”. One of the characters from the show, Nozomi Tojo, is a shrine maiden at Kanda Myojin in the show. Ever since then, you can find ema and other Love Live! Goods at Kanda Myojin!
Access to Kanda Myojin where the festival is held is easy! It takes about 5 minutes on foot from the Tokyo Metro Suehirocho Station on the Ginza line, 5 minutes on foot from the JR East Ochanomizu Station on the Chuo or Chuo-Sobu line, and about 7 minutes on foot from Akihabara Station on the JR Yamanote line.
Kanda Matsuri 2021!
If you want to catch the next Kanda Matsuri, you will have to wait until the year 2021, when it will be held in mid-May. As mentioned earlier, this is due to the festival being held on odd numbers years only. So, if you want to check out the Kanda Matsuri for yourself, try to schedule a visit around May 15th!
Generally, the Kanda Matsuri holds day-long events on Saturday and Sunday, where you can see the mikoshi being carried throughout the streets, but there are many events that happen throughout the week leading into the festival, so you are sure to enjoy the festivities!
- Spot name: Kanda Matsuri 2021
- Street address: 2-16-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0021
- Access: 5 minutes on foot from Suehirocho Station or Ochanomizu Station