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What is Tori no Ichi Fair?
Tori no Ichi Fair (open-air market) is a famous annual event in November on the day of the Tori (Rooster) in Chinese calendar and this event has continued to today since the Edo period.
Tori no Ichi is held at Temple of Tori (Juzaisan Chokoku-ji) in Asakusa, Tokyo or various shrines of Washi (Eagle) and many people come to there to pray for a health, good fortune and good business.
In the Edo period, Tori no Ichi was the fist fair for welcoming New Year. A poet, KIKAKU who was a pupil of the most famous Japanese poet Mastuo Basho, said for Tori no Ichi "Haruwomatsu Kotonohajimeya Tori no Ichi" (Tori no Ichi is a first important event to bring New Year.).

The day of the Tori (Rooster) comes every 12 days in November and generally, the first day of the Tori is most important. However it is said that a fire is likely to take place in the year that the day of the Tori has 3 times.
The Origin of Tori no Ichi Fair "The Harvest Festival of Hanamata Washidaimyojin
The origin of Tori no Ichi Fair was a fair of Hanamatamura located in a suburb of Edo (today it is Otori Shrine located in Adachi-ku, Tokyo). Its original form was a harvest festival by peasants who thank to Hanamata Washidaimyojin.
The day of the festival, Ujiko(people under protection of the local deity) dedicated a rooster to Hanamata Washidaimyojin and after the festival they went to the most famous temple "Senso-ji" in Asakusa and released the collected roosters in front of the temple.
The prosperous Asakusa
Many Samurai and townspeople got to visit the main gate of Otori Shrine of Hanamata Washidaimyojin on the end of year, and townspeople gambled in front of the shrine and street. But in 1776, it seems that a government gave the law of prohibition to gamble there. Then the prosperous fair moved to Tori no Ichi of Chokoku-ji in Asakusa from Hanamatamura by and by.

At that time, the fair of Hanamatamura was called "Hon no Tori", the fair of the temple of Shosen-ji (It is located in Senju, Tokyo) is called "Naka no Tori" and the fair of the temple of Chokoku-ji in Asakusa was called "Shin no Tori". There were three main Tori no Ichi.
In the tree fairs, "Shin no Tori" Chokoku-ji of Asakusa was most famous because a statue of Washimyoken Bodhisattva was enshrined in the temple in 1771, moreover, it was adjacent to Shin-Yoshiwara pleasure quarter at east side. Tori no Ichi of Chokoku-ji in Asakusa became famous town as Fair of Tori until today.

-"Charm of Bamboo Rake" & "Special Foods"-
A special thing on Tori no Ichi was "Bamboo Rake for good luck". A highly decorated bamboo rake was particular popular as goods to bring happiness and prosperity in business. It is said that to bring happiness for New Year is to change a bigger bamboo rake year by year.
On the other hand, the Temple of Chokoku-ji in Asakusa had sold a small bamboo rake with an ear of bunch rice as a charm. Today this bamboo rake is sold at temples of Tori and other shrines of Washi (Eagle) opening a fair.

There were other popular specialties (foods), "Kashira no Imo (steamed taro)" and "Koganemochi (Japanese rice cake)". They were poplar and sold to people who hope to be succeeded business and wealth.
Today, only one shop sells "Kashira no Imo" and there is no shop to sell "Koganemochi". But in place of "Koganemochi", the Japanese cake called "Kirizansho" is sold in the Asakusa Tori no Ichi.
 
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