This festival is the origin of the many Houzuki (Japanese lantern plant) markets that have spread to many areas of Japan. The festival began in the Edo period due to sayings about boiled-down Japanese lantern plant having medicinal effects for children's convulsions and women's gynecological illnesses.
It is believed that you will be blessed with 1,000 days worth of good fortune if you walk through the "Chinowa" equipped in front of the main shrine during the festival. It is an old festival listed even in the "Toto Saijiki", a compendium of seasonal words for haiku poets, also known as the Edo period's version of Saijiki.
Atago mountain—where the shrine is located—is considered the tallest natural mountain within Tokyo's 23 wards, giving the precincts of the shrine a different atmosphere from that of the business district seen just outside.
Furthermore, Atago Shrine carries blessings for fire and disaster prevention, prosperity in business, love and matchmaking.
Atago Shrine's Chinowa is a large hoop made of green freshly cut Kaya (Japanese blood grass) leaves. This Shinto ritual claims that walking through the hoop will cleanse you of your sins and impurities, purifying your body and spirit. At Atago Shrine, it is believed that passing through this Chinowa and making your prayers will provide you with 1,000 days worth of good fortune.
It is also said that ridding yourself from sins and impurity leads to achieving happiness. Please try passing through the Chinowa.
Due to sayings about boiled-down Japanese lantern plant having medicinal effects for children's convulsions and women's gynecological illnesses, a market began to operate here selling "Atago's wonder-working Houzuki (lantern plant)".
Today, the species has gone through breeding, turning it into an inedible ornamental strand, yet if you receive (purchase) a blessed Houzuki, then they will specially purify you as well.
(There may be inspections required for taking the plant abroad)
The area is surrounded by Minato ward, Tokyo's tall buildings, yet the precincts of the shrine is filled with greenery—an environment much like that of an oasis in the middle of the city. Carp swim in the pond, making the space to be very atmospheric. The lush trees block the blazing sun of late summer, allowing you to experience a sacred tranquility. Please experience the calm air together with the festival.
Houzuki (Japanese lantern plants) are on sale by a limited amount.
There may be inspections required for taking the plant abroad.
Access to Atago Shrine
Address: 1-5-3 Atago Minato-ku, Tokyo
5 min walk from exit 3 of Kamiyacho Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)
8 min walk from Toranomon Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)
8 min walk from Onarimon Station (Toei Mita Line)
20 min walk from JR Shinbashi Station
Take the Toei Bus "East 98" (Tokyo Station South Exit to Todoroki) to Atagoyamashita bus stop.
Take the Toei Bus "Shibu 88" (Tokyo Station Yaesu Exit to Shibuya Station) to Toranomon-sanchome bus stop.