Shitaya Jinja Festival

(Not my video)

Every year on the weekend after Golden Week, the shrine I live next to, Shitaya Jinja (下谷神社), has a major festival. Unfortunately, I work weekends, so I never really get to see much of it.

In the morning of last Saturday, I left for work at around 10:30 am. Stepped out of my apartment building and was met with this:


Literally, that’s what it looked like outside my doorstep. These are food stalls. They sell the usual overpriced festival food like Takoyaki, Yakisoba, Sasebo Burger, Anzu Ame, etc.

This guy has nice photos of the festival from 2 years ago.

Speaking of festival food, I heard that these food stalls, even though they look pretty scruffy and the quality of the food is often questionable, make a ton of money. An old client of mine, her dad was a police officer back in Osaka, and had arrested a Takoyaki vendor at a festival. The reason for the arrest was child labor. The vendor had two stalls, and he asked one of his very young sons to manage one of the stalls. During the investigation, my client’s dad asked the vendor how much they make per day. Apparently, one Takoyaki stall makes about 2 Million Yen a day. That’s about $20,000! Damn.

In case you were wondering, what exactly are these festivals for? Well, as you may have guessed, one reason is likely economic in nature. But basically, shrine festivals are the few days in a year that the god/s who live in the shrine get to go out.

Before the festival weekend, there is a ceremony that symbolizes the transfer of the deity into a portable shrine, called mikoshi (神輿) in Japanese, which you probably saw on the video above. This is then carried by people around town. It’s believed that if you don’t take the shrine god out for a walk once a year, they get pretty cranky and will cause all sorts of misfortune to the people in the neighborhood.


2 thoughts on “Shitaya Jinja Festival

    1. Nantoka Z

      Yeah, I know right? That story of hers, by the way, was to point out how much people in Osaka love their takoyaki. So maybe anywhere else, you wouldn’t make that much. Still, that’s a lot of money for a couple of days.


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