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Festival Report. Hanazono Shrine

by Veronika 648

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Right in the center of one of the most crowded places in
Tokyo stands the Hanazono Shrine - a Shinto Shrine
founded in the 17th century. Although it is located in the
bustling part of Shinjuku, where many offices and nightlife
establishments ensure that the streets are flooded with
people day and night, you might not even notice the

Shrine, as it is hi
dden from the main streets.

If you happen to be in the area in November, visit the

Shrine during Tori no Ichi festival that happens two three

times in this month. Shrine festivals in Japan are interesting

experiences with delicious street food and huge crowds,

loud celebrating people and religious rituals.

If you are visiting Tokyo in November 2017, you can still

catch the festival on 29th and 30th (Wednesday and

Thursday). If you want to avoid the crowds, visit the

Shrine during the day (festivities start at 4PM on

Wednesday and around noon on Thursday), as many

people tend to visit the festival after work when they can

relax and enjoy themselves.

Even though festival street food (yatai) is a must, be

advised that the prices can be a bit higher than they

would normally be elsewhere. A portion of the food is

usually around 500 Yen, which is the same price for most

of the drinks (like beer), so a good way to save up would

be to buy your drinks at a convenience store nearby. As

for the selection of food, there are around 200 stalls in

the festival, so you can definitely find something for

yourself. Popular festival food choices include takoyaki

ball-shaped snacks with octopus pieces inside, yaki-soba

noodles, or chocolate covered banana for dessert.

Eating and paying respects at the Shrine might be the

main activities at a festival, but there are other

entertainment venues as well. You can get small presents

at a shooting gallery, or take home a goldfish after saving

it from a common tub... Sure, these games are mostly

targeted at children, but adults can get enjoyment from

them as well.

Festivals are a fun way to experience Japanese culture,
so definitely visit one if you can during your travels!