Sanja Matsuri 2018

Sanja Matsuri 2018

This past weekend saw the annual Sanja Matsuri, one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals with a long history stretching back over 700 years. The event takes place in and around the Asakusa district of Tokyo, home of Senso-ji, one of the oldest temples in the capital. Groups of varying sizes come out to celebrate over a three day period, parading around the streets carrying mikoshi (portable shrines), which are said to bring good fortune to local businesses and residents.

For the most part the event is a fun and safe day out for participants, families and spectators alike, although it is also known for its strong ties to local organised crime groups (known as yakuza) who have offices in and around the area. Factions of these groups take part in the event, allowing the public a rare glimpse of their members and also their trademark full body tattoos.

I spent both Saturday and Sunday at the event this year, following several groups around taking photos of the general atmosphere as well as portraits of some of the participants…

EDIT: The good people at Spoon & Tamago have used some of these images on their website, you can check them out here!

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