Asakusa Golden Dragon Dance

Every year on March 18th, the Sensoji temple in Asakusa (the big one that you always see in the guide books sees crowds of people gather for one of its (many) festivals. It’s a busy place at the best of times, filled with both locals and tourists; some come to use the temple to make offerings and pray, others to buy street food and trinkets for souvenirs  on the market street that runs through the grounds, and pretty much everyone to witness a marvellous structures that make up this ‘traditional’ part of Tokyo.

Lots of visitors dress in Kimono when they come to Asakusa. As a tourist there are lots of places to hire one for the day too.

Lots of visitors dress in Kimono when they come to Asakusa. As a tourist there are lots of places to hire one for the day too.

 

The Golden Dragon Dance (Kinryu no Mai)  is based on a legend that overnight on 18th March, 1000 pine trees appeared on the grounds of the temple. A golden dragon came down from the heavens but was never seen again after that time.

The dragon weighs 88Kg and is about 18 metres long, so it takes a lot of people and a fair bit of strength to perform the dance.

The dragon weighs 88Kg and is about 18 metres long, so it takes a lot of people and a fair bit of strength to perform the dance.

It was first performed in 1958 to commemorate the rebuilding of the  temples main hall. We were lucky to have fantastic weather on the day, as it had been a little cold up to this point, but the sun was really starting to warm things up. The dance took place roughly on the hour between 11am and 3pm so there are plenty of chances to catch a performance.

Below is a gallery of pictures from the day. I won’t write too much about Asakusa at this point because there are already loads of great resources, but if you want to find out more about it try checking http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3004.html

 

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