Sanno Matsuri is one of the three biggest and most popular summer festivals that take place in Tokyo. There is a full and partial version of this festival. The full version only occurs on even-numbered years, and the partial version happens on odd-numbered years. This is a way to alternate with the other big Tokyo festival Kanda Matsuri which is the exact opposite.
The Sanno Matsuri festival takes place over 11 days in mid-June, and there are various small events that happen across Tokyo. During even-numbered years, the main attraction is a huge parade that meanders through central Tokyo for about 9 hours on one day. The festival is in honor of the deity at the Hie shrine, which is considered the guardian god of Tokyo. Both the deity and the shrine are believed to pre-date the city, but the Sanno festival only started during the Edo period.
Since Tokyo is such a large and essential city, the scale of the procession has been reduced over time to avoid the need for road closures. However, many streets are partially closed on parade day to make way for the floats, musicians, and dancers. At the Hie shrine, participants can walk through a large straw ring as an act of purification.
How to get to Sanno Matsuri: The parade starts at Hie shrine, which is in central Tokyo and can be reached from various subway stations. It is a 3-minute walk from Tameike-Sanno Station if you take the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line or Ginza Line.
• Address: 2-10-5 Nagatachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0014
• Date: Dates and times vary from year to year, so check the event website