The Akasaka Hikawa Shrine, host of this festival, is one of the Tokyo Jusha (10 selected shrines out of the 23 wards of Tokyo of certain status). This is one of the most important regular festivals out of the year and is held over three days. The float parade that weaves through Akasaka is famous, bringing in large crowds annually.
The annual ritual part of the festival that has been held on the Akasaka Hikawa Shrine grounds for 1,050 years straight includes no mikoshi (portable shrine) nor floats, and is carried out solemnly. On the day of the Shinkosai, regarded by the average person as the "day of the festival", mikoshi that have survived the fires during the war, and priceless floats that have miraculously survived for roughly 400 years since the Edo period, come to life again to join other processions in a collaborative parade that was last held 100 years ago. The grand parade, lined by numerous shops and stands creates a lively atmosphere for the crowds of locals and visitors. Besides this major parade, there is a Yomiya Junko, or eve-parade, in Akasaka the night before, that includes floats and mikoshi.
Very valuable floats, unlike that anywhere else in the country, parade the streets at night for the Akasaka Hikawasai. The actual ones that were used back in the Edo period have miraculously survived to this day. These valuable cultural assets have successfully gone through repair in recent years and go on display at this festival. You can't go home with out seeing these elaborately crafted floats.
Also, there are also many other processions that present viewers with a taste of what life was like back in the Edo period so be sure to enjoy the traditions of this Japanese festival that has been handed down diligently in the middle of the metropolis of Tokyo.
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Access to Akasaka Hikawa Shrine
Address: 6-10-12 Akasaka, Minato ward, Tokyo
Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Akasaka Station. 8min walk.
Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line/Oedo Line, Roppongi Station, 8min walk.
Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, Roppongiichome Station, 8min walk.