San-no-Tori Festival photos from Hanazono Shrine

I attended my first Tori-no-Ichi festival in 2020. There are up to three of them per year. Individually, they are called Ichi-no-Ichi, Ni-no-Tori, and San-no-Tori.  Each goes for two nights (as the event goes for 24 hours). This article is about the third, at Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku again in the same year.

Honestly, I don’t get the difference between the three festivals. I couldn’t see it. They seemed to be mostly the same. Maybe I needed new glasses?

In short, people go to Tori-no-Ichi to get their piece of good luck. They go to pray and wait in long lines to do so. Then they get their Kumade, good luck rakes.  Rakes? Yes, because the event has its origins as a farmer’s festival. They haggle for them before buying them. It’s all very friendly.

The stalls they buy them from are brightly lit up. Decorations abound. Everything is colorful and glitzy. For a photographer, Tori-no-Ichi brings together culture, people, and color. That makes it worth photographing.

I did have one complaint. It was the absence of food stalls. Festival food is always great, so that was a major problem. But due to coronavirus, it couldn’t be helped.

Regardless, the crowd was huge. I thought that signified how important some of these festivals are. Even in a pandemic, people weren’t deterred from going. Nothing would stop them. Culturally, they are important.

The photography was typical night work. It was a matter of using high ISO and shooting wide open. Of course, I kept the shutter speed as slow as possible.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. In the future, I hope to go to the home of this event in Asakusa. Yes, I’d like that!

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. In the future, I hope to go to the home of this event in Asakusa. Yes, I’d like that!

San-no-Tori Festival 2020 photo gear:

  • Camera Body: Fujifilm X-T3
  • Lens: Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

For more festival articles, look at:

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