The Tori-no-Ichi, literally rooster market, is one of the most popular festivals usually held in November on the days of the rooster based on the Chinese zodiac.
This festival was said to originate in Tokyo, then Edo, as a harvest festival in Hanamatamura in Adachi-ku. Held at Otori shrines, peasants gave thanks to Otori-sama, deity of good fortune and successful business.
Dates for 2018
Tori-no-Ichi takes place every 12 days in November. In 2018, the dates are November 1st (Thursday), November 13th (Tuesday) and November 25th (Sunday). Since it is held from midnight to midnight, you can drop by anytime but its most fun to visit at night.
Most popular shrines in Tokyo
Asakusa Tori-no-Ichi: Juzaisan Chokoku-ji Temple (8-min walk from Iriya Station on Hibiya Line)
Shinjuku Tori-no-Ichi: Hanazono Shrine (8-min walk from Shinjuku Station on JR lines and Shinjuku-Sanchome Station on Marunouchi, Shinjuku lines)
Buying a Kumade (rake)
Kumade (熊手), the thing most associated with Tori-no-Ichi, is a decorated bamboo rake said to bring happiness in the New Year. The meaning of Kumade is a bear’s hand, so you can imagine a bear clawing in wealth. Kumade come in various sizes and are decorated with items said to bring in good luck. Businessmen book these in advance and have their name written on a wooden plaque.
The smallest ones can cost 200 yen and the largest can go into tens of thousands of yen. The previous year’s rake is returned to the shrine and a new, bigger one is bought for the coming year.
You can also find really cute ones with pandas, daruma, and even Hello Kitty!
A clapping ritual by the store owners and buyers adds to the festive air.
No festival in Japan is complete without the food stalls. The Asakusa Tori-no-Ichi has the most number of stalls and streets parallel to the shrine are cordoned off. You can eat anything from takoyaki to oden!
Check our features on festival food to know more!