3 Greatest Tori no Ichi Festival in Kanto Regions



The Tori (rooster) no ichi Festival, literally translated as “rooster market” is said to have been celebrated at shrines and temples across Japan since the Edo period. It is traditionally held in November, on days that the lunar calendar designates as days of the rooster. Here is a quick guide to the 3 greatest Tori no Ichi festivals in Kanto regions.

  • 01

    About Tori no Ichi

    Tori no Ichi is an annual event held in November at temples and shrines associated with eagles and birds on days that the lunar calendar designates as days of the rooster. This traditional festival has flourished around the Kanto area during the Edo Period (1603-1867), with the celebration at Asakusa being the largest and most clamorous in Tokyo. People go to this festival to wish for a year of good luck and prosperity. The festival is famous for selling “kumade”, literally translated as bear’s paw but this is actually an auspicious bamboo rake decorated with symbols of wealth and prosperity like the Seven Lucky Gods as a symbol of raking in fortune or luck.

    Kumade (auspicious bamboo rake) decorated with Seven Lucky Gods

    Kumade (auspicious bamboo rake) decorated with Seven Lucky Gods

    Each year, visitors bring back last year’s kumade and exchange it for a new one. Depending on the region, this festival may be called “O-tori Matsuri (festival)”, “O-torisama” or “Oakame Ichi”. And since the lunar calendar changes annually, some years the festival is held twice, and some years, three times. If the festival is held three times, it is a sign that rate of fire increases, therefore, these auspicious rakes are sold together with a sticker saying “Hino Youjin (beware of fire)”.

  • 02

    Shinjuku: Hanazono Shrine

    The Tori no Ichi held at Hanazono Shrine, which began in the Meiji era, attracts about 600,000 people every year. In the precincts where a lot of dedication lanterns illuminate, there are more than 200 rake shops and stalls, and many more along Yasukuni Street. This is the second largest among the 3 Greatest Tori no Ichi Festival in the Kanto region.

    The festival starts with the eve of the festival (November 1, 13 and 25 in 2020) on the first night of each set of days, while the main event (November 2, 14 and 26 in 2020)is the following day. One of Hanazono Shrine's most distinctive and famous attractions is the "freak show", where you can pay a fee to see bizarre performances that you wouldn't normally see on a daily basis. (cancelled for 2020.)

    Freak Show

    Freak Show

    Torinoichi Fair at Hanazono Shrine in Tokyo
    2020 updated version: 45 of the Best Things to Do in Shinjuku
  • 03

    Asakusa: Otori Shrine

    Tori no Ichi is held at Otori Shrine in Asakusa and together with the neighboring Juzaisan Chokoku-ji Temple, this festival makes the largest out of the 3 Greatest Tori no Ichi festivals in the Kanto region. It kicks off with a sound of “Ichiban-taiko” (drum) at midnight and the festival will last for 24hours.
    Every year about 800 to 900 food stalls and rake shops are set up in the Otori Shrine, attracting about 700,000 visitors. Because the shrine precincts are small, and are filled with stalls selling decorated rakes, there is almost no space for food stalls, so they are located on the streets surrounding the shrine.

    27 of the Best Things to Do in Asakusa
  • 04

    Fuchu City: Okunitama Jinja Shrine

    Okunitama Jinja Shrine is located in Fuchu City, Tokyo, and is one of the oldest shrines in Japan with a history of about 1900 years. Compared to the other two festivals, the Tori no Ichi held here is small in terms of the number of stalls. There are about 150 food and rake stalls. Because it is less crowded compared to the other two Tori no Ichi held at Otori and Hanazono shrine, it is recommended for those who want to choose a rake slowly.

    Tori no Ichi during daytime

    Tori no Ichi during daytime

    Tori no Ichi during daytime

    Tori no Ichi during daytime