It’s almost time to enjoy summer festivities in Japan. Most festivals in Japan did not take place for the last two years due to the pandemic and many people missed the vibrant and exciting atmosphere of summer festivals held in shrines. Most Japanese people have nostalgic memories and it’s finally time to revisit these again. In this feature, we introduce the Reitaisei (grand festival) held at Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku, Tokyo, in late May.
Hanazono Shrine (花園神社) is located in the buzzing area of Shinjuku and is easily accessible by public transport. In addition to summer festivals, antique markets are also held here from time to time. As it is located in downtown Shinjuku, the activities of the Hanazono Shrine reflect the liveliness of this area.
The most exciting part of any summer festival is, of course, the variety of foodstalls selling all kinds of delicious, cheap treats.
All stalls will be busy. Here, you can see a stew being made of meat as well as okonomiyaki both loaded with veggies.
You will also find delicious drinks that are served in bizarre containers! Check out this tapioca drink that comes in a baby bottle!
This lightbulb soda is also popular across festivals in Japan.
You can choose from a range of flavors. Don’t miss out as these make for exciting Insta shots.
Another interesting aspect of the festival is the chance to play various traditional games. For instance, here, you can pull on ropes to win a gift.
Just pull on one rope and there will be a gift on the other end. You can win all sorts of things from games to candy.
Festivals are a great time to also enjoy seeing Japanese people in unique costumes and outfits. Other than kimono and yukata, you will see women and men wearing happi for carrying a mikoshi, which is paraded around the area.
Children are especially cute in these outfits.
This bronze statue is acting like a guardian watching people come and go.
The Hanazono Shrine is not too big, but the architecture is beautiful. The omikuji (fortunes) here are really cute and come in a red and white daruma.
Most people buy both colors as you don’t get to choose. Pull the piece of paper from the base to read your fortune.
Since this is an Inari shrine, you will also find small fox statues. There are many Inari shrines in Japan, so most people end up buying the daruma omikuji.
If you get a chance to visit Japan in late May, how about stopping here after shopping in Shinjuku?
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