Held annually in November, the Tori No Ichi Traditional Fair is an open air market that is held at Otori Jinja shrines around Japan. The shrines are dedicated to the God of good fortune who is also responsible for bringing success to businesses. Tori means rooster, which is also one of the twelve animals found in the Japanese zodiac, and the festival falls on the so called ‘rooster days’, which occur every twelve days in November. These days change from year to year so those interested in participating in the festival should check a calendar in advance. The festival is supposed to bring good luck especially for businesses.
Tori No Ichi was originally a harvest festival welcoming the New Year and it originated in the Edo Period. Many stalls at the open air market sell ‘kumade’ rakes which are usually made out of bamboo. One is supposed to ‘rake in’ the wealth and good fortune. The rakes are usually ornate items and are decorated with gold coins called koban. When a rake is purchased at the market it is customary for the buyer and seller to clap their hands in sync with each other. The clapping is punctuated enthusiastic shouts. Foreigners in Tokyo in November are sure to enjoy the festivities.
Tokyo is the capital of Japan and is the most populated urban area on the planet. It is a city that blends the past and the future, and one can catch glimpses of ancient Japan tucked away quietly between skyscrapers. Featuring mildly warm summers and pleasant winters, Tokyo is one tourist destination that can be visited at any time of the year. Congestion can be a real problem in the city although fortunately Tokyo has a terrific public transport system. The city’s mass transit system is quick, comfortable and efficient, although it can get a little crowded during rush hour.