The colorful and lively Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo is definitely not one of the Tokyo events you will want to miss.


The Kandu Matsuri festival only happens every two years on odd-numbered years, so if you are lucky enough to be in Tokyo during the right year you are in for a real Japanese experience.

The highlight of this festival is the huge parade in which volunteers carry 200 beautiful ornate Golden and black lacquer mikoshi shrines in a vigorous parade toward the Kanda Myojin Shrine.

This happy and energetic Festival includes everyone wearing Traditional Japanese clothing, and Shinto priests mounted on horseback which will immediately make you feel as if you’re back in Ancient Japan.

Be sure to buy your souvenirs. This is a festival you won’t soon forget, and it’s nice to take a souvenir home with you.

When Is Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo?

Kanda Matsuri is one of the 3 largest festivals in Japan. It occurs in May on the Saturday and Sunday closest to the 15th of the month.

Even if you are visiting Tokyo during the even years, you’ll be thrilled to discover that you can still enjoy the Kanda Matsuri festival, just on a much smaller scale. The reason the parade takes place is to bring prosperity, blessings, and luck to the area and its residents. The festival has always been linked to protecting the city.

Where Is Kanda Matsuri?

On the Saturday the parade runs through central Tokyo through Nihombashi, Otemachi, Marunouchi, etc. Many of the roads along the parade route are partially closed allowing busy traffic to run alongside the parade.

Some festival events are held in downtown Tokyo in the Shitamachi area, at the Kanda Myojin Shrine, located at Sotokanda.

Events continue to occur on the Sunday as well, just on a smaller scale. On the Sunday, you can watch the 100 small and large portable shrines gather from each quarter.

A Little History Of Kanda Matsuri

The Kanda Matsuri is held to honor of Kanda Myojin Shrine deities. Kanda, which is the venue of the festival, used to be the central quarter of Edo (Tokyo) back in the Edo Period.  Those born and bred in Kanda were called ‘Edokko, and were considered to be high-spirited. Their characteristics are reflected in the happy and high-spirited Kanda Matsuri festival that’s brimming with energy.

Kanda Myojin Museum

The Kanda Myojin Museum has a diorama of the Kanda Matsuri and also displays models of floats. If you wish to find out more about this very interesting festival, be sure to visit this museum. The Kanda Myojin Museum is open to the public on weekends and on national holidays.

Tokyo Trip Checklist

  • To make sure you have all the important things covered see my first-time-in-Tokyo guide
  • Get your 1,2 or 3-day Tokyo Unlimited Subway Pass to easily get around Tokyo
  • If you want to travel on bullet trains you can save big with a Japan Rail Pass. Here’s why is worth it.
  • You’ll need a prepaid sim or Portable WIFI to stay connected in Tokyo.
  • Check out my detailed Tokyo packing list to make sure you’re prepared.
  • The best site to book hotels in Tokyo is almost always And remember to book early, especially during busy times.
  • For travel insurance (which you need) Word Nomads offer great coverage in Japan and are highly recommended.

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