Tokimeki Taito Festa 2008

November 3, 2008 was a Japanese National Holiday celebrating Culture Day.

Every year during this day, the Tokimeki Taito Festa (also known as the Tokyo Historical Festival or Tokyo Era Festival) is celebrated in Asakusa, a district in Taitō, Tokyo, Japan, most famous for the Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon.

Tokimeko Taito 1

According to the Asakusa web site describing this event, “the first Tokyo Historical Festival, a pageant recreating the history of Edo/Tokyo took place on November 3, 1989.  The purpose of this event was to highlight the fact that Tokyo’s history and culture originated in Asakusa, and to establish the presence and uniqueness of Asakusa in Tokyo as a city of the world.  The festival, now in its 18th year, has proved a popular attraction and features the newly added participation of the citizens of Taito City.”

One of the highlights of this festival is the parade with colorful costumes of the Edo period.

Tokimeko Taito 2  Tokimeko Taito 0

The Dance of the Golden Dragon recreates the legend that Ryujin, the dragon god, descended from the heavens to protect the Kannon statue while it was being venerated at Senso-ji temple.

Tokimeko Taito 3  Tokimeko Taito 4

Many children also participated in the parade.

Tokimeko Taito 5  Tokimeko Taito 6

There were many very colorful costumes …

Tokimeko Taito 7  Tokimeko Taito 8

… as well as scary costumes (Halloween? … close enough).

Tokimeko Taito 9 Tokimeko Taito 10

Many were dressed as samurais.

Tokimeko Taito 11  Tokimeko Taito 12

Portable shrines or mikoshi (sacred palanquins) were carried by a boat on wheels (I think there were 3 in total).

Tokimeko Taito 13  Tokimeko Taito 14

Some important characters rode in floats on wheels including the Seven Gods of Fortune.

Tokimeko Taito 15  Tokimeko Taito 16

Tokimeko Taito 17  Tokimeko Taito 18

The Edo Castle pull stone with Ieyasu Tokugawa, commander-in-chief in 1608 who oversaw the construction.

Tokimeko Taito 19

“Hanami-odori” is a flower-viewing dance performed by townspeople clad in colorful costumes.

Firemen of Edo carrying a ladder.

Tokimeko Taito 21  Tokimeko Taito 22

Geisha are highly accomplished women trained in classical Japanese dance and shamisen (Japanese three-stringed plucked lute) playing who provide entertainment at social gatherings.

Tokimeko Taito 23

In 1853, a fleet of American warships (the “black ships”) bearing envoy Matthew Calbraith Perry appeared off the coast of Uraga, a city at the entrance of Tokyo Bay, marked the beginning of the end for Japan’s 300-year old policy of seclusion.

Tokimeko Taito 24

More pictures on my Facebook.  Please see also TokyoFive’s coverage of this event.

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4 thoughts on “Tokimeki Taito Festa 2008

  1. Nice photos and videos.
    And you wrote alot of details about the festival and Tokyo’s history. I was too lazy! 🙂

    All of what you wrote is accurate. How did you learn about it?

    (Does the Asakusa website translate the festival’s name to “Tokyo Historical Festival”?
    I wrote the name of the festival in English as “Tokyo Era Festival”. It’s my own translation (not official).
    I wrote it as that because the festival is 「東京時代祭」…and 「時代」 means “Era”)

  2. Thanks. I learned about it in the Asakusa web site, there was an English page which described last year’s parade.

    Yes, the Asakusa web site translated it to “Tokyo Historical Festival”.

  3. Pingback: Year In Review: Festivals « Konnichiwa

  4. Pingback: Asakusa « Konnichiwa

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