Travelers are people who are looking for ongoing events in their destinations. It is something precious to explore the real local things, isn’t it? In Tokyo in mid December, there is a must-see event that you must learn before your trip. It is annual Hagoita Market at the iconic Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. What is a hagoita? How can I enjoy it? Can I get special souvenirs there? In this article, I’d like to share the photos, stories and tips with you!
Hagoitas are traditional Japanese crafts that are considered to be charms to reject bad spirits. The craft people come to sell their products at the end of the year.
The origin is a custom to pray for healthy growth of girls. This market became that of today in the late 19th century when some people started to sell hagoitas at the year-end market. Today, hagoitas are shooting away bad lucks at many local stores, banks and any kinds of merchants in Asakusa as well as families with baby girls. …How did I know it? I witnessed such buyers there!
Hagoitas without decorations are used in a traditional game named “hane-tsuki” that is played by children typically in New Year holidays. It is not something difficult at all – let’s say it’s casual badminton. Don’t get me wrong – those sold at the market are definitely charms. When someone buys one, you’ll hear the flints or claps of the sellers to wish good luck.
Not only traditional ones, craft people make some “icons of this year” hagoitas!
Now it’s time to talk about souvenir tips by me as a local.
First, if you are brave enough to buy a huge hagoita at hundreds of dollars, that’s GREAT! But I suppose this is too heavy in various meanings for many of you. Then, remember you can get smaller ones from around 2,000 yen (consider it to be $20)!
I say that it is a MUST DO to get the real traditional Japanese craft when you travel in Tokyo in mid December because hagoitas are available only at this market IN A YEAR. Souvenirs in Nakamise Street are fascinating (for international travelers and ME), but they are available all the year around. Can you feel how special to have chances to go to Hagoita Market?
Second, there are also other things related to hagoita. When you play badminton, you need not only rackets but also shuttles, right?
Even if you are a super cheapskate, don’t worry, I have another option. At least, it’s a MUST to get some super mini hagoitas!
If you are staying in Tokyo in mid December, rethink of your travel schedule. You found Tokyo Direct Guide, so NEVER miss the experience that most travelers do NOT have!
Sensoji Temple is the icon of Tokyo which is visited by most travelers. You can shift the date to go there to 17, 18 or 19 December!
Visitor Information & Helpful Links
Location: Sensoji Temple
Schedule: 17, 18 & 19 December, every year
In daytime (The time when the temple is open and sellers are there.)
Asakusa Sightseeing Guide by Tokyo Direct Guide