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Updated: July 29, 2019
According to legend, brothers Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari were fishing in the Miyatogawa River (now known as the Sumidagawa River) when they pulled up a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. A wealthy landlord named Hajinomatsuchi enshrined the statue in his home, laying the foundation for Sensoji Temple. Later, a shrine was erected for the souls of the three men. That shrine is Asakusa Shrine, which still stands next to Sensoji Temple.
Since the Edo period, the Sanja Matsuri festival has been held to honor the three men. (The term "sanja" means "three people.") Known as one of the liveliest festivals in Japan and one of Tokyo's three great festivals, it's a wildly popular local event. Join in for yourself to experience the spirit of Tokyo's shitamachi (traditional downtown area).
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