Carnival ‘snake lady’ at Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku

On Friday, the traveling "snake lady" was at the tori no ichi festival at Hanazono Shrine in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward for the final time this year
The traveling “snake lady”

TOKYO (TR) – On Friday, the traveling “snake lady” (hebi onna, 蛇 女) was at the Tori no Ichi festival at Hanazono Shrine in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward for the final time this year.

For 800 yen, curious attendees were allowed to squeeze inside a tent on the shrine compound and watch the white-faced woman, attired in a red gown, break off the head of a serpent with her teeth and then consume a portion of it. She also blew fire from her mouth.

The festival, where people come to pray for good luck in business, is held twice in November and includes roughly 300 vendors peddling food, drinks, and elaborately decorated rake-shaped bamboo ornaments (kumade).

Since no photography of the theatrics on the stage was permitted, these photos from outside will have to suffice. However, the video, also below, will give an idea of the performance.

"Step right up, step right up!"
“Step right up, step right up!”

(Photo by Tokyo Reporter, November 19, 2010)

On Friday, the traveling "snake lady" (right) was at the tori no ichi festival at Hanazono Shrine in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward for the final time this year.
The Tori no Ichi festival at Hanazono Shrine on Friday featured the “snake lady”

(Photo by Tokyo Reporter, November 19, 2010)

On Friday, the traveling "snake lady" was at the tori no ichi festival at Hanazono Shrine in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward for the final time this year.
The “snake lady” with a wiggly critter

(Photo by Tokyo Reporter, November 19, 2010)

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