The Tori-no-Ichi is held on the days of the rooster on the zodiac calendar in November, and this year, there are 3 rooster days in November. Days of the rooster occur every 12 days in November, which means that the month of November has at least 2 or even 3 days of the rooster, depending on the year.
This year, there are 3 rooster days in November, and the first Tori-no-Ichi festival was held on November 6th. The Tori-no-Ichi festival coming up on November 18th is the second Tori-no-Ichi this November, and it is called the Ni(two)-no-tori. The last one will be on November 30th.
The Tori-no-Ichi festival originated at the Otori-jinja (shrine) in Taito-ku, close to Asakusa. Started in the Edo period, it was originally a festival for farmers to appreciate prosperity and good harvest. Evolving through the years it has become a festival to wish for good luck, health, fortune, and business. Although the festival at the Otori-jinja in Asakusa is the most famous, you will find the same festival going on at all the Otori-jinja related shrines all over Tokyo and throughout Japan. There are about 30 shrines in Tokyo, some of the most famous being Hanazono-jinja Shrine in Shinjuku-ku, Kitano-jinja Shrine in Nakano-ku and Ebara-jinja Shrine in Shinagawa-ku.
At the festival, Kumade, merrily decorated bamboo rakes, are sold to wish for and appreciate prosperity. Rakes are a symbol to “rake in” good luck and fortune, and it is decorated with charms of koban (gold coins), okame (a goddess of good luck), rice barrels, treasure ships, Japanese red snapper, etc., all symbols of richness and prosperity.
A “Iki” (cool, chic) way to buy a Kumade is to bargain the price of the Kumade with the seller twice, bring the price down but in the end paying full price as a present to the seller as a celebration for a good business deal. This practice makes you feel rich and generous, while the seller feels they’ve made lots of money, making everyone happy in the end; )
You will see many vendors showing off their gorgeous bamboo rakes, and you will hear lively shouting and hand claps when a rake is successfully sold.
Every year, one goes back to the same seller to buy an even bigger Kumade that symbolizes business growth. So the bigger the rake, the longer you have been in business.
Just going to the festival to hear the shouting and clapping and looking at all the colorful Kumades is quite energizing! The festivals go on until midnight, so enjoy a night out at a Tori-no-Ichi!