Rake in Good Fortune at Torinoichi Market in Asakusa

Tokyo Culture Ohtori 2019.11.23
Each November, on the day of the rooster, in Asakusa, there is a market called the Torinoichi. People come to this market to buy a lucky charm that is in the form of a rake to rake in prosperity and good fortune. Where did this start and what's the story behind it? Let's take a quick look.
  • Many people gather for this event.
    Image Credit: Lucy - at the entrance of Otori Jinja 

The Lucky Rake

A rake in Japan is called Kumade【熊手:くまで】,  and as the use of it, as it is in any other country, it is normally used to collect fallen leaves. However, this rake is used to collect good luck and fortune.

Most of the time, companies in Japan buy this lucky rake to wish for prosperity for the coming year, and each year, if the business was successful, they purchase a bigger size rake to wish that the company grows the same way.

Where to get the rake?
This tradition of buying this lucky rake is more popular in the eastern regions of Japan, closer to Tokyo.
Especially this event in Asakusa (at Chokokuji temple and Ohtori Jinja), Shinjuku (Hanazono Jinja), and Fuchu (Ohkunitama Jinja) are the three most popular places to go to.

Places like Saitama Prefecture and Osaka Prefecture also have similar events and sell these lucky rakes as well. 
  • The Lucky Rakes sold at Torinoichi at Otori Jinja.
    Image credit: Karl

The Torinoichi Festival

The Tori-No-Ichi 【酉の市:とりのいち】originally was a market that was held during the days of the rooster in November (in Japanese Tori【鳥:とり】 means bird, but in this case, Tori【酉:とり】uses a different character and it represents the rooster from the Zodiac) as it was close to the harvesting season. 

People come to the temples and shrines to buy the lucky rake and pray for a prosperous year that yet to come.

How are the dates decided?
Each year, the dates for this Torinoichi are different even they all fall in November, this is because in Japan, we use the twelve terrestrial branches (also known as the Japanese/ Chinese zodiac) to count years.
In tradition, the days were also counted this way and hence there is a day of the rooster that comes in a twelve-day cycle.

The most famous one in Tokyo is the one at Ohtori Jinja (Washi Jinja) and Chokokuji, a shrine and temple that are located in the area which belongs to the rear entrance of the Sensoji temple called Ura-Asakusa or Kannon-Ura.
  • The stage performance at Ohtori Jinja.
    Image Credit: Karl

When and Where

The event for 2019 has already finished on the 20th of November, as this year in November there were only two days that fall on the day of the rooster (8th and the 20th).

The day of the rooster in November next year (2020) is the 2nd, 14th, and the 26th.
The top three shrines and temples in Tokyo are as follows.

Close to Asakusa
- Chokokuji, Temple【長国寺:ちょうこくじ】
at 3-19-6 Senzoku, Taitoku, Tokyo (Map)

- Ohtori Jinja/ Washi Jinja, Shrine【鷲神社:おおとりじんじゃ】
at 3-18-7 Senzoku, Taito City, Tokyo (Map)

Close to Shinjuku
- Hanazono Jinja, Shrine 【花園神社:はなぞのじんじゃ】
at 5-17-3 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo (Map)

Close to Chofu
- Okunitama Jinja, Shrine【大國魂神社:おおくにたまじんじゃ】
at 3-1 Miyamachi, Fuchu, Tokyo (Map)
video from JAPANKURU creative studio Facebook account.
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