Sanno, Kanda and Fukagawa festival were considered as the three great festival of Edo. Although Sanja Matsuri’s present day form was established during the Edo period it gathered popularity later on to the point that it is now considered one of the wildest and largest matsuri in Japan. Its prominent parades revolve around three mikoshi (portable shrines referenced in the festival’s name), as well as traditional music and dancing preserving the spirit of Edo in Hiroshige’s time.
Like many Japanese festivals, Sanja Matsuri is a religious celebration. It is a weekend-long Shinto festival that is dedicated to the kami (spirits) of three men. The three men then devoted their lives to the Buddhist faith after finding a statuette of the Bodhisattva Kannon caught in a fishing net in the Sumida River and consecrated it in a small temple. This temple, now known as the Sensō-ji, currently houses the Kannon statue and is the oldest temple in Tokyo. Celebrated over the course of three days, the festival attracts 1.5 to 2 million locals and tourists every year.