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Friday, June 12, 2009

Tsukiji celebrates 350 years

Staff writer

Tsukiji-jishi Matsuri street festival, an annual festival in which locals will march through the streets of Tokyo's Tsukiji district carrying floats of lion heads, will be held from June 12 through June 14 at Namiyoke-Inari Shrine.

This year marks the 350th anniversary of the reclamation of the area and the enshrining of the god to pray for safe completion of the reclamation project.

The highlight of the festival is on Sunday, when a total of 14 floats will be carried by thousands of people as they parade through the streets. Included are Ojishi (big male lion head) weighing about 1 ton and Mejishi (big female lion head) weighing about 700 kg. The parade will take place between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Edo sato-kagura (local festival music) will be performed from around 10 a.m. to the evening, while shrine officials will perform dances based on ancient myths. Over the weekend, 90 stalls peddling everything from wataame cotton candies to shateki shooting games will be on offer along the streets.

Namiyoke-Inari Shrine is about a four-minute walk from Tsukiji-shijo Station on the Toei Oedo Subway Line or Tsukiji Station on the Hibiya Subway Line. www.namiyoke.or.jp/index.html

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