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TOKYO

Sanno Festival features kendo, folk dancing

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

Counted as one of the three biggest festivals in Edo, present-day Tokyo, the Sanno Festival kicks off its annual celebration Friday in the heart of the capital.

The long-established festival at Hie Shrine in central Chiyoda Ward runs through June 17 featuring various traditional events.

On June 8, children in colorful costumes walk through a ring made out of cogon grass (a type of grass native to Asia) to purify their bodies and souls in a ritual known as the chigo gyoretsu (a procession of children). Two competitions of kendo, the art of Japanese fencing, will be held June 9.

The festival also boasts some tea-related events, including ceremonies by several organizations to offer teas at the Shrine’s altar on June 10, 16 and 17. Nodate (open-air tea ceremonies) will also take place on June 14 and 15 in the shrine’s garden.

Traditional satokagura, Shinto music and dances that are indigenous to Tokyo and its surrounding areas, will be performed at the shrine’s hall on June 8 and 9. Musical act Heartful Voices and Crystal Voices will perform at a concert on June 7.

The Sanno Festival takes place at Hie Shrine in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, from June 7-17. For more information, visit www.hiejinja.net/jinja/sanoh.