Tokyo kite market

This article appears on page 12 of the January 2018 issue.

In the Shinto calendar, days are assigned animal representations (tokens/emblems/totems) in a rotation. Each February on the Day of the Horse (falling typically in mid-February), a market for traditional kites can be found at the Oji Inari Jinja Shrine (1-26-26 Kishi-machi, Kita-ku, Tokyo, Japan; phone +81 03 3907 3032). The kites are each shaped like a yakko, a servant to a samurai. 

The tradition dates back to the Edo period (1603-1868), when people considered kites tokens of good luck and purchased them to help ward off fires during the year. 

 In 2018, two Days of the Horse (and, thus, two kite markets) occur in February, on the 7th and 19th.