Houzuki-ichi (ground cherries market) is held on 9th and 10th July at Senso-ji in Asakusa. The temple festival named `shiman-rokusen-nichi’ has a long history from Edo period.
The literal meaning of Shiman-rokusen-nichi is 46000days.
According to the website of Senso-ji, a single visit to Senso-ji on 10 July has the same value as 46000 visits.
There are various views about the origin of the number 46000, but one of them is that 1 bale (a straw rice bag) has 46000 grains, and 1 bale was thought as the meaning of 1 lifetime. In short, people can gain blessing for a lifetime as if they visit it every day.
The visit on 10 July was settled in Edo period, and a large crowds gathered on 9 July to be the 1st person to arrive to Senso-ji. As the result, both days of 9 and 10 July became temple festival like nowadays.
It is said that the Houzuki (ground cherries) started to be sold on the festival days in 1764-72. It was popular because people believed hozuki was a medicine.