Sanja festival begins
A spectacular parade kicked off an early summer festival in the downtown Tokyo area of Asakusa on Friday.
The "Sanja-matsuri" of Asakusa shrine is one of Tokyo's major traditional festivals, attracting a million spectators each year.
On the first day of the three-day festival, revelers including dancing geisha in gorgeous kimono and men wearing "happi" coats paraded the streets, led by a decorated float.
Crowds of tourists flocked to the event, taking photos against the background of the city's tallest structure, the Tokyo Sky Tree, a broadcasting tower under construction near Asakusa.
A woman in her 40s from Kyushu, southern Japan, said she was thrilled to see both the traditional parade and the modern tower.
A couple from France said they were delighted by Tokyo's contrast of urban atmosphere and the old world environs of Asakusa.
The festival will peak on Sunday when three large portable shrines are hauled through the crowded streets.