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Updated: January 4, 2024
Note: The 2023 installment of this event has already taken place.
Asakusa's annual year-end Hagoita Fair is a colorful and exciting traditional event.
The fair features many varieties of brightly decorated hagoita, including large ornamental pieces and ones for children. There are also hagoita with Edo oshi-e (embossed art), a nationally designated traditional craft. Hagoita are rectangular wooden paddles that were originally used to play hanetsuki, a traditional game similar to badminton. They were regarded as lucky objects that "hit away bad luck."
Sensoji Temple's Hagoita Fair has its roots in the Edo period (1603-1867), when hagoita decorated with the faces of kabuki actors were sold at year-end markets. From the Edo period through the Taisho era (1912-1926), there was a custom of giving hagoita as a year-end gift to households with children. To accommodate the end-of-year demand, the number of shops selling hagoita grew, and around the middle of the Showa era, the year-end market began to be called the "hagoita fair."
Sensoji Temple's year-end market was one of Edo's biggest events and the oldest market. It has continued for 350 years through to modern day without cancellation, even after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and through World War II.
There are also special uke-eto (Japanese zodiac) hagoita that can only be bought during this market from the Hagoita Preservation Society in front of the five-story pagoda.
Please check the official event website for the latest updates on opening dates and times, prices, and other information.