Held annually since 1981, the Asakusa Samba Carnival is one of the biggest events on the Tokyo calendar, attracting about half a million visitors each year. Brazil and Asakusa might not seem like an obvious match, but with about 300,000-strong Japanese community in Sao Paulo—the largest outside of Japan—one doesn’t have to reach too far back into history to see the ties between these two countries.
The carnival is actually a contest between about 20 competing teams. The Rainha de Bateria (Queen of the Drums)—easily identifiable by her colourful peacock-like sash—leads each team parade down Umamichi-dori and Kaminarimon-dori to the east and south of Sensoji Temple. You’re advised to arrive early if you want a spot at the front of the spectator area.