The Nishi-Asa San-Kita Mikoshi

Shinto festival held in Asakusa

By Michelle Madden    - 1 min read

The Nishi-asa San-kita matsuri (festival) is held in Asakusa. Residents of the Nishi-Asakusa Sanchome Hokubu Chokai area take it upon themselves to perform at the event. What drew my attention to this particular festival is that two major yakuza (Japanese 'mafia') groups live in Asakusa and peacefully participate in this festival alongside the other residents. Going there I expected to see the bare backs of the yakuza members full of irezumi (traditional Japanese tattoos) carrying the mikoshi (portable Shinto shrine) down the road. What I did see was one yakuza member with his shirt open baring his irezumi. My heart stopped for a millisecond. Apart from that I felt sort of privileged as I seemed to be the only foreigner at this festival.

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Michelle Madden

Michelle Madden @michelle.madden

I'm a young South African who has traveled many hours to visit the land of the rising sun. I'm a film studies postgraduate, with an interest in cinematography and photography. My mission is to document as much of Japan as possible for the duration of my stay.