Tokyo Historical Parade (Tokyo Jidai Matsuri) on the 400th anniversary of Tokyo:
A procession of performers dressed as maid servants to the court ladies of the Tokugawa shogun, parade with their paper umbrellas, or “kasa”. They were part of a team that included 66 women in traditional period dress from Japan’s Edo period (1600-1867). They are seen here stopped at an intersection when the parade halted to allow traffic to pass.
This annual festival held on National Culture Day (Nov. 3) in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, recreates Tokyo’s history and culture. Now in it’s fourth year, it includes period costumes from 1300 years ago up to the 20th century. The majority of it focuses on the past 550 years, including the founding of Edo Castle in 1457 by Dokan Ota, and the arrival of Japan’s most famous shogun, Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1590, who unified Japan and established his shoganate there in 1603. Other aspects include the founding of Asakusa Sensoji Temple, which was built on the banks of the Sumida River after the area became a place of worship when an apparition of Kannon emerged from the river in 628.
With 2003 being the 400th anniversary of Tokyo, this year’s celebrations took on special meaning to commemorate the city’s past. Over 1600 performers participated in the procession, comprised of 35 teams who represented their era, as well as the various civic groups, ward offices, religious, cultural and historical organizations that backed them.