Mark your calendars! On September 17, 2023, the vibrant streets of Asakusa will come alive with the sounds of samba beats. The much-loved Asakusa Samba Carnival is making a comeback.
Though on a smaller scale, it promises all the charm and enthusiasm that fans have grown to adore.
From Samba Festa to Samba Carnival
For the last two years, due to certain constraints, the official Samba Carnival parade contest had taken a break, and in its place, the Asakusa Samba Festa was celebrated.
However, this year, the Asakusa Samba Carnival Committee has decided to rekindle the festive spirit with a pared-down version of the original carnival, focusing on a parade on Kaminarimon Street.
What’s Different This Year?
The 2023 Asakusa Samba Carnival will have some noticeable changes:
- Venue: The entire parade will take place on Kaminarimon Street. No events are scheduled for Umamichi Street this year.
- Format: This year will focus on a simple parade format. The contest element will not be part of this year’s festivities.
- No Floats: Attendees will miss the iconic allegorical floats, as they won’t be making an appearance this time around.
Planning to Attend? Here’s What You Need to Know
- Direction Change: The parade’s direction has been reversed. It will now move from Sushiya Street to Kannon Street.
- Viewing Areas: Specific areas along Kaminarimon Street will be designated for viewers. However, some spots may restrict viewing.
- Bring Your Mats: No blue sheets will be provided for sitting. If you plan to stay awhile, make sure you bring something to sit on.
- Listen to the Authorities: For everyone’s safety, always follow the directions given by the police, security guards, and staff.
- No Early Reservations: Refrain from reserving spots the day before or early in the morning using belongings or mats.
- Stay Hydrated: With the excitement and the heat, remember to keep hydrating regularly. It’s essential to guard against heatstroke, especially during prolonged viewing.
- Weather Considerations: The parade will continue even if it rains. However, severe weather might cause a cancellation. The decision will be made by 9 am on the day of the event. Plus, if the area gets too crowded, the committee might decide to halt the parade for safety reasons.
A Little History of Asakusa Samba
Wrapping up Asakusa’s summer since its inception in 1981, the Asakusa Samba Carnival has flourished, thanks to the enthusiastic support from the lively Asakusa community. Over time, it has grown into a grand event, attracting up to 500,000 visitors annually.
Drawing inspiration from the iconic Rio de Janeiro Carnival in Brazil, teams participating in the Asakusa Samba Carnival have put in tireless efforts, elevating it to the status of the largest samba carnival in the Northern Hemisphere.
And it’s not just about the parade! The intense contest is always a sight to behold.