08 November, 2005

Sugamo Ohtori shrine / Tori-no-Ichi (the Cock fair) - part 1


Sugamo Oh-tori shrine is located near the Shige's condo, it takes about 10 minutes on foot. It's very small shrine and I've seldom seen the people visiting there. But Kazu, Shige's friend, taught me this shrine was famous for "Tori-no-Ichi".

There are many Oh-tori of shrines in Japan. It enshrine Oh-tori(Phoenix).
In 4th century, Japanese hero "Yamato Takeru" tried to beat northern tribes and got win after the fierce battles. At the beginning of the war, he had prayed their victory at Oh-tori shrine. After the war he visited the shrine again. He thanked god their victory and dedicated a weapon "Kumade" to the shrine. "Kumade" is a kind of rake used for sweeping the ground, but originally it was a weapon. The day of Yamato Takeru's visiting became a festival day of Oh-tori shrine. It was named "Tori-no-Ichi(the Cock fair)".

"Tori" means birds but this sound of Japanese also means "take", "get" or "earn". From that sound, people of Edo era (around 16-17th century) thought "Tori-no-Ichi" could be the festival for "getting" wealth, happiness or luck. Then it became a festival for ordinary people who lived in urban area like merchants, carpenters and others, and "Kumade" became a symbol of "raking" wealth and luck.

The "Tori-no-Ichi" of this year(2005) are 9th and 21st November. A lot of "Kumade" manufacturer will open the stores in the precincts of the shrine, and a lot of people will gather to buy decorated "Kumade".
If you are living in Tokyo area, I recommend you to visit the "Tori-no-Ichi" of the Hanazono shrine of Shinjuku or the Asakusa Oh-tori shrine. I bet you'll be surprised their atmosphere of excitement.
Do you want to go there, Lee?
No way! I don't want to be stomped on. I'll go to the Sugamo Oh-tori shrine.

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3 Comments:

Blogger kazu said...

The episode of the origin of Kumade
was interesting. As a weapon, it
must be effective to scratch the
opponent deeply. It was like the
wife's ultimate weapon! (Scratch
her husband with long nailed
hands!)

22/12/05 22:15  
Blogger kazu said...

Have you seen the gigantic Kumade
with decorations at the "Edo-Tokyo
Museum" in Ryogoku near Tokyo station. It is not only beautiful but what amaze you is its size!
It is worth watching/taking photographs!

22/12/05 22:20  
Blogger kazu said...

When I first bought my digital camera in 1999, the first festival I went to take photographs was the Sugamo Tori-no-Ichi. I was very happy to be able to take such a colorful and decorative photos there in Sugamo. Ever since, I always carry my digital camera and take whatever caught my attention. I might look a strange Ojisan (middle aged man), but never mind. I enjoy becoming a "artist"!

22/12/05 22:28  

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