What is the Torinoichi Fair
The Torinoichi Fair–Otorisama to locals–is a vibrant celebration held for the upcoming year during the period of November in Tokyo.
History of the Torinoichi Fair
Torinoichi Fair dates back from hundreds of years which was carried out by the trademark of dazzlingly decorated kumade rakes and hand clapping ceremonies.
Its origin came from Hanamatamura fair located in a residential area in Edo (Otori Shrine located in Adachi-ku, Tokyo today) and its original form was a harvest festival by peasants who give thanks to Hanamata Washidaimyojin.
On the day of the festival, Ujiko–people under the protection of the local deity–offered a rooster to Hanamata Washidaimyojin. After the festival, they went to the famous Senso-ji temple in Asakusa and released the collected roosters in front of the temple.
There is a unique way of purchasing your rakes in Torinoichi fair. It is the negotiation of prices to the lowest value or simply called “haggling”.
Once you and the vendor have agreed on a haggled price, tradition states that you should hand the original amount, refuse the change they will try to give back, and say it is a gift. The vendors would then gather around to clap and cheer for your good health and luck.
Every November, thousands visit to pray for good business in the upcoming year and to buy kumade, which are lavishly decorated rake-shaped good luck charms. Hand clapping ceremonies are held every after sale.
There are also stalls filled with delicious snacks lined behind the temple.
When it is held
Based on its ancient roots, the festival is set by the old Japanese zodiac-based calendar and is only held on ‘days of the rooster’ in November.
Days of the rooster occur every 12 days throughout the month, so there may be two or three festival days depending on the year.
Be sure to check the exact dates if you want to catch this fair in action.
Festival schedules may vary every year.
But the 2019 celebration is scheduled to be held on November 25.
Where it is held
3-18-7 Senzoku, Taito-ku, Tokyo-to
The fair is easily accessible by train.
As it is held in Juzaisan Chokoku-ji temple, it is just an eight minute walk from Iriya Station or about 20 minutes from Asakusa Station.