Daigyoretsu Parade at Sensoji Temple: A Photographer’s Guide

The Daigyoretsu parade is the opener for the famous Sanja Festival. It’s an event that brings three million visitors to Tokyo’s Asakusa district. It’s three days of endless incredible energy. You need to see this one. Things don’t get much bigger than this.

This parade is a photographer’s dream. It offers an opportunity to capture Japanese culture amidst Asakusa’s lively streets. If it’s your first time at this event, this guide will help you make the most of this incredible event.

What is the Daigyoretsu Parade?

The Daigyoretsu Parade kicks off the Sanja Matsuri. That is one of Tokyo’s most famous and largest festivals. It celebrates the three founders of Sensoji Temple.

There are heron dancers, taiko drumming, geishas, and Heian period costumes. The energy, colors, and number of participants make it a must-see event. It is one of Tokyo’s biggest cultural events.

Best Spots to Photograph the Daigyoretsu Parade

Kaminarimon Gate:

Why? It has the perfect backdrop – a giant red lantern and Nakamise shopping street.

Tip: Arrive early to secure a spot, as this area gets crowded quickly.

Nakamise Street:

Why? There are opportunities to capture interactions between participants and spectators.

Tip: Use a wide-angle lens to include the street’s decorations alongside the parade.

Sensoji Temple steps:

Why? The temple’s architecture adds a traditional touch to your photos. You can even juxtapose it against the colorful parade.

Tip: Experiment with angles to include the temple pagoda and the Hozomon Gate in your shots.

Asakusa Shrine:

Why? The parade concludes here, offering a relaxed atmosphere.

Tip: Focus on portrait shots to highlight the details of the traditional costumes.

Essential Photography Tips

Timing is Everything:

Arrive at least an hour, if not more before the parade starts to scout for locations and set up your gear.

Gear Suggestions:

  • A versatile zoom lens (e.g., 24-70mm) is ideal for capturing wide shots and close-ups.
  • A zoom prime lens (e.g., 55-200mm) is great for getting up close.
  • Don’t forget extra batteries and memory cards, as you’ll be shooting a lot!
  • Don’t take a tripod. That will be dangerous as the event gets crowded to the extreme.

Capture the Details:

Focus on costume details, the expressions of the participants, and the temple buildings. These elements add depth and storytelling to your photos.

Use Burst Mode:

The parade is dynamic, with constant movement and action. Burst mode ensures you don’t miss critical moments.

Respect the Culture:

While capturing the event, be mindful of the participants and spectators. Avoid obstructing the procession and always ask for permission when taking close-up of people.

Post-Processing Tips

Enhance Colors:

The Daigyoretsu Parade is rich in color. Adjust the vibrance and saturation to make your photos pop, but avoid over-processing.

Highlight the Action:

Use cropping and selective focus to draw attention to the main subjects of your photos. This technique can help convey the energy and movement of the parade.

Black and White:

Consider converting some images to black and white. This can add a timeless quality to your photos and highlight the textures and contrasts.

When is the Daigyoretsu Parade?

The parade and the Sanja Festival are held in the third weekend in May.

Bonus tip

Look out for the parade’s heron dancers. These birds are known to protect people from illness and disease. The outfits are spectacular.


The Daigyoretsu Parade in Asakusa is an experience that offers endless photographic opportunities. Its culture and tradition provide a unique glimpse into Japan’s rich heritage. By following these tips you should be able to capture images that capture the spirit of the parade

Pack your gear, plan your shots, and immerse yourself in the Daigyoretsu parade. Happy shooting! And don’t forget to share your masterpieces with the world.

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