The Sanja Matsuri with the Asakusa Takahashi-gumi

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TOKYO (TR) – On Monday, organizers of the colorful Sanja Matsuri, the Shinto festival that dates back centuries, announced that an estimated 1.84 million revelers attended the event over the weekend, a decline of 30,000 people from the year before.

On both days of the festival, considered one of the biggest in Japan, numerous mikoshi, or portable shrines, were carried by boisterous participant outfitted in traditional happi coats through the streets of the historic area of Asakusa in Taito Ward.

Among those on hand were members of the Asakusa Takahashi-gumi organized crime group. Despite the enactment of legislation in October of 2011 that seeks to restrict gang activities, the group managed to participate — sometimes with the assistance of the police — in the festivities. A selection of photos featuring members of the gang (with and without their coats) can be found in the gallery above.

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