Thank you for joining our tour in Asakusa on March 11. We had the seven friendly guests from UK, Australia, America, Brazil and Columbia. I hope all of you enjoyed walking with us in comfortable Spring weather.

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There are plenty of great events and festivals in Asakusa throughout the year. March 18 is Honzon Jigen-e to celebrate the appearance of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy housed at Sensoji Temple. Three mikoshi (portable shrines) are carried out of Asakusa Shrine and various dances are performed at the temple precincts.
On that day in the year of 628 two fishermen brothers were catching fish in the nearby Sumida River and caught a small wooden statue. Then they brought back to the village and the village chief recognized the significance of the find as the Goddess of Mercy and converted his house into a temple. This is the beginning of Sensoji Temple which is celebrated by the Honzon Jigen-e ritual.

(Origin)                                     (Sensoji Temple)                   (Asakusa Shrine)
Later adjoining Asakusa Shrine was built to honor the three men who were involved in the discovery of the statue. That’s why three mikoshi are housed in the storage. Although the famous Sanja Festival respecting the three men is now held in mid-May, it used to be performed on March 18 until the govenment separated Shintoism from Buddhism about 150 years ago.
In the evening of March 17 three mikoshi are carried into the main hall of Sensoji Temple after the divine spirit is transferred. Each mikoshi weighs 1000 kilograms. At the main hall the three souls have a reunion with the Goddess of Mercy and stay overnight there.

(Photos:The Asakusa Tourism Federation 365 ASAKUSA)
On the following day on March 18 three mikoshi move out of the main hall and parade through the town of Asakusa and return to the Shrine. During the daytime there are various perfomances and dances. Golden dragon dance should be most elegant and spectacular. On that day when the statue appeared, the guardian dragon king is said to have swooped down from the sky to the earth. The dragon dance is performed in the temple precincts three times at 11:30, 14:00 and 15:30 on March 18.

(Photos:The Asakusa Tourism Federation 365 ASAKUSA)
If you are around Asakusa on March 18, it is worthwhile to see the mikoshi ritual and dance performances. Last but not least it would be nice for you to join our next tour in Asakusa on March 19 regardess of the above-mentioned event.

(posted by Yoshi)