- A major year-end event that is bustling from morning till night
- Brightly colored raised cloth applique hagoita
- Lucky charms created one by one with loving care by craftsmen
- The purchase of a hagoita comes together with lucky hand clapping
A major year-end event that is bustling from morning till night
The Toshi-no-ichi (Year-end Fair) is held each year from December 16th through 19th at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo. As this is the final fair for the year and offers New Year’s goods and lucky charms, it is also considered to be the busiest fair of the year. The Toshi-no-ichi started in the Edo period. One of the lucky charms that on sale here is the hagoita, or traditional Japanese battledore. Because so many of these are sold, the event is also sometimes referred to as the “Hagoita-ichi” or “Battledore Fair.”
Hagoita were once used to play battledore and shuttlecock during the New Year. Later, the shape of the hagoita broadened out (into a figure 8 shape, which is considered a lucky number in Japan), and the object came to be considered a lucky charm that could “bounce malice back.”
Brightly colored raised cloth applique hagoita
Around the middle of the Edo period, “oshie-hagoita”—hagoita decorated with raised cloth applique portraits of popular kabuki actors started to be sold at the market. People would buy hagoita depicting their favorite actors. These days, “special hagoita” modeled on characters or famous people that were hot topics during the year are also on sale in the market stalls.
Lucky charms created one by one with loving care by craftsmen
Oshie-hagoita are created totally by hand, without reliance on machines, which means that each item is one of a kind and all hagoita are embodiments of the craftsman’s heart and soul. Each one features a delightful, spirited facial expression. This makes any visit to the Hagoita-ichi a worthwhile experience, even if just to view these colorful objects lined up in rows.
The purchase of a hagoita comes together with lucky hand clapping
At the market, it is also common to see customers who have purchased hagoita being bid farewell with “tejime”—ceremonial hand clapping. This celebrates the fact that things have gone smoothly. With its cries and claps, tejime can be a fun experience to be a part of.
Toshi-no-ichi–Hagoita-ichi is bursting with activity from morning till night, bustling with people buying lucky charms in the hope of ensuring that the New Year, which is just around the corner, will be a good one. Why not try making your way to Sensoji to endow yourself with power for the New Year?
Sensoji / Toshi-no-ichi
- Date and Time：Wed, 17th December to 19th December 2016.
- Place：Asakusa Senso-ji In front of the five tiered tower.
- Website：Asakusa Toshi-no-ichi