What is the “Tori no Ichi” ?

The “Tori no ichi” is a Japanese event held every year in November.
It is said to have originated in the Edo period (1603-1868) when farmers living near the Hanabata Owashi Shrine in Adachi-Ku, Tokyo dedicated chickens to celebrate the autumn harvest.


At Chokokuji Temple in Asakusa, it is called “Shin no Tori”.
“Tori no ichi” is the day that falls on the rooster of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs.

The twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac are used not only for the year, but also for the day, time, and direction.

Therefore, the day of the rooster comes around every 12 days.
The first “Tori no ichi” Day is called the “Ichi no Tori (First Bird Day)”, followed by the “Ni no Tori (Second Bird Day)” and the “San no Tori (Third Bird Day)”.

 Kumade (rake) was originally used as a tool in Japan and started to be treated as a sacred object.

The rule is to hold them high when leaving and take them home.

It is also believed that the best place to display them is a slightly elevated place such as an entranceway or a Kamidana ( household Shinto altar).

 

The rule is to buy the rake at a bargain price and give the bargained money as a tip.
After buying the rake, the shopkeeper will give you a cheerful shout and a hand-clasp.
The proper way to dispose of them is to take them to the same shrine the next year and have the shrine dispose of them.

 

There are also many potatoes called “Tou no Imo (head potatoes)” for sale.
This has two meanings: to get ahead in life (by becoming the head) and to be blessed with children (because there are many of them in a row).

There are also rice cakes called “Kogane Mochi (golden rice cakes)” on sale. There is also a rice cake called “Kogane Mochi (golden rice cakes)”, which is said to make people rich because it has the same meaning.
“Kiri Sansho (sweetened mochi flavoured with Japanese pepper)” is also famous. It is eaten to pray that there will be no calamity or illness for the whole year.
These are not usually eaten but are often eaten on special occasions.

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Kiri Sansho