Festivals & Events

The Reitaisai (Grand Festival) is held on May 17 and 18. From 10:00 a.m. on May 17, a ceremony is held at the shrine in the presence of the head of the Tokugawa family, Sanshikai officials, and other dignitaries and guests. From 1:00 p.m., yabusame (archery on horseback) in the Ogasawara tradition is performed in a special area set up on the front approach to the Shrine in the evening, three portable shrines are brought to Futarasan Shrine and the Yoinari-sai (Evening Arrival Ceremony) is conducted by priests from both shrines.

On May 18, the Mikoshi-togyo-sai (Portable Shrine Procession) is held starting at 11:00 a.m. Referred to as the Procession of 1,000 Samurai, it includes over 1,200 attendants who are divided into 53 categories (including warriors in armor) and who escort the portable shrines to the Otabi-sho (Sojourn Hall). Special food offerings are made, incantations are read by the Chief Priest, and Yaotome-kagura (Sacred Artistic Rites performed by Eight Shrine Maidens) and Azuma-asobi (Entertainment of Eastern Japan) are performed. The ceremony is concluded when the procession returns to Toshogu Shrine.

O-mikoshi (Portable Shrine)

O-mikoshi (Portable Shrine)

Event Calendar

  Monthly Festivals (Monthly on the 1st, 17th and 26th)
January     Saitan-sai (New Year’s Day)
Special New Year’s Prayer
February     Setsubun-sai (Day Before the First Day of Spring)
Kigen-sai (National Foundation Day)
Kinen-sai (Spring Harvest Festival)
March     Kenkoku-kotaisai (Grain Dedication)
May     Kuriishigaeshi-hokoku-sai (Turning the Cobblestone)
Kenshu (Sake Dedication)
Shunki-reitaisai, Shinji-yabusame (Spring Grand Festival, Archery on Horseback) (17th)
Togyo-sai (Sacred Procession “Procession of the 1,000 Samurai”) (18th)
June     Shinden-ontaue-sai (Rice Planting)
Oharae-shiki (Great Purification)
August     Nikko Kendo Tournament (17th, 18th)
October     Shinji-yabusame (Sacred Archery on Horseback) (16th)
Shuki-sai Togyo-sai (Autumn Festival and Sacred Procession; Procession of 1,000 Samurai) (17th)
Konkaten (Cake Dedication and Exhibition)
Kikukaten (Chrysanthemum Exhibition)
November     Meiji-sai (Birthday of Emperor Meiji)
Shinden-nuibo-sai (Rice Harvest)
Niiname-sai (Rice Offering)
December     O-suzubarai-sai (Year-End Cleaning)
Tencho-sai (Emperor’s Birthday)
Oharae-shiki (Major Purification)
Joya-sai (New Year’s Eve)
Archery on horseback
Archery on horseback
Procession of 1,000 people
Procession of 1,000 people
Ceremony for presentation of bows and arrows
Ceremony for presentation of bows and arrows
Procession of armor
Procession of armor
Procession of children
Procession of children