Unique Festival in Tokyo: Doburoku Matsuri @Koami Shrine
Nov 30 2015
Within a five-minute walk from Ningyocho station, you will reach "Koami Jinjya" in Nihonbashi Koamicho: a small shrine surrounded by buildings. I saw people standing patiently in line.
Every year on November 28th, they hold "Doburoku Matsuri." (if it is a Saturday or Sunday, the event will be rescheduled to the nearest Monday or Friday.)
Matsuri means a festival, but it is not the one where people carry a mikoshi portable shrine nor enjoy food from street stalls. It is similar to Thanksgiving: a ritual to thank god for their blessing. The offering, freshly brewed rice-wine called "doburoku," will be given to visitors (from 9am to 6pm).
Do you know what "doburoku" is?
It is unrefined sake made from rice that used to be widely enjoyed and brewed at home in Japan. You will get regular, refined sake by filtering doburoku, which is much milkier and chunkier.
Today, home brewing is illegal in Japan, except in "Doburoku Special Zones" where the production of the liquor is allowed for the consumption within the area.
Although it is not prohibited to brew doburoku in the Special Zones, the production is mainly for religious rites and you can not take doburoku outside the Zones: you can't buy a bottle as a souvenir!
Doburoku is a special drink you can taste only in the "Special Zones."
They sell "Mimizuku (owl) Charms" from the day of Doburoku Matsuri until New Year's Day (@JPY 2,500).
Legend has it that a daughter, without money to buy medicine for her sick mother, was told by a god that she could help her mother with an owl weaved out of reed. In the same spirit, Koami Shrine's owls are made of reed.
They are released in a limited quantity, so I saw many people waiting in a queue to get one!
Why not check Doburoku Matsuri to pray for good luck and ward off bad luck? You will get a precious opportunity to taste doburoku that is served exclusively here!