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San Francisco Taru Mikoshi, Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival


The Mikoshi is a portable Shinto shrine in which a god or deity is believed to reside. In early days it was believed that carrying the Mikoshi would get rid of any curse that one one might have and that shaking it would spread the benefit of the god's power.

Taru Mikoshi originated at the time of the 1868 Meiji Restoration. When Meiji Emperor entered Edo (Tokyo) Castle, one of many things he did was to invite the head of each of approximately 1500 communities within Tokyo to the castle and present them with a barrel of sake, similar to the one we carry. Spontaneous festivities erupted throughout Tokyo, and after they finished drinking, citizens carried the empty sake barrel on a platform for 4 days to show deep appreciation and unconditional suuport to the new government.

As a result of its festive origin, Taru Mikoshi and sake drinking are inseparable. Thus, respecting this tradition and thanks to our sake manufacturing sponsors, San Francisco Taru Mikoshi Committee is committed to provide enough sake for everyone to enjoy.

San Francisco Taru Mikoshi

The original SF Taru Mikoshi debuted at the first Cherry blossom Festival in 1967, carried by about 25 people. It has grown since then to its current style with double elevated platforms and double layers of four sake barrels, one barrel on top, and a recently acquired enormous Hoh Oo (Phoenix). It weighs over 1000 pounds and requires 140 to 160 people to carry it.

The SF Taru Mikoshi has been the highlight of the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival for the last 42 years. The organizers plan to take it to Washington D. C. for the centennial of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in 2012.

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