Lost in the crowd, surrounded by floats

I have to admit, I did not expect Nezu Shrine Festival to be so… full of life, I guess?

I loved every second of it. I took way too many pictures and recorded way too many videos. Won’t post them all here, but if you are interested, you can find them on my YouTube channel.

As usual, I met a nice stranger. Maybe I looked lost? Anyway, some older Japanese man asked me if I spoke English and we talked for a while about the festival, Poland, and my job. Apparently, I was very lucky because this year’s festival was special: normally, they move 7 or 8 floats, but this time there were 30 (he said 300 but I’m pretty sure that was a mistake).

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After all the floats reached their destination (Nezu Jinja), everyone went to enjoy the festivities around the main shrine. The place was crowded. But not too crowded: walking around or finding a place to sit down to rest and/or eat something wasn’t a problem. It was a nice kind of crowded, especially for a solo traveler like me. There was something semi-familiar about it. Probably because the event was very local (I saw maybe 4 or 5 foreigners) and it seemed that it was very important for the community. Lots of families with kids, people in traditional clothes, almost everyone paying their respects at the shrine before going to the stalls.

Oh yes, stalls. With food. Yakitori, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, ikayaki, karaage, jaga bata, kakigor, dango, ringo ame, choco bananas, bebi kasutera… So many different types of food that the first thing I did was checking some basic “Japanese festival food” online – just to know what to expect (and how to eat it). My chopstick skills are still far from perfect, so I decided to focus on stuff that’s “on a stick” or “eat with your fingers”. I ate some bebi kasutera (so good!), some sort of hot pasty with pumpkin filling, and kakigori (or shaved ice). I know these were the safest choices and next time I’m going to try something more… unusual. I promise 🙂

And the fox said…

While Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens were the highlight of this Friday, my plan also included a visit in Shinto shrines – Nezu Jinja and Otome Inari Shrine that is adjacent to the former (it’s actually on Nezu Jinja’s grounds).

Inari Ōkami’s shrine is quite important to me. I used to pray here for something that actually came true, so this time I also wanted to pay my respects (and maybe make a tiny request). It’s not that I’m a Shintoist (not sure if there is even such a term), I’m not even sure if there is a term for my set of beliefs. But there are some places where you can just feel the presence of some sort of deity. For me, Otome Inari Shrine is one of these places.


It is also a beautiful place, with vermilion Torii gates warding off evil and statues of foxes, divine messengers.

Update: I’ve just Google-Translated photo of a poster I took: there is a festival in Nezu Shrine on the 18th (Sunday)!

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I think it starts at 1 pm. I’ll definitely try to be there!