Chichibu Yomatsuri is a winter night spectacle that has been celebrated for over 350 years in Saitama Prefecture, japan. Held annually on December 2 and 3, this festival is considered one of the most spectacular events in the Kanto area. The highlight of the festival is the procession of massive floats weighing between 10 and 20 tons, beautifully decorated and pulled through Chichibu’s main avenue to the beat of drum and flute music.
The festival starts with a lively crowd gathering to witness the procession of the floats. These floats are ornately designed, adorned with lanterns, tapestries of gilded wood carvings, and depictions of beasts and mythical figures. The craftsmanship and attention to detail on these floats are truly remarkable. As the floats make their way through the town, locals and visitors alike are captivated by the sight and sound of this grand parade.
One of the most exciting moments of the festival is when the floats are brought up Dango Hill. This is an impressive feat of strength, as the floats weigh several tons and the hill is steep. The crowd cheers and encourages the float pullers as they make their way up the hill. It’s a test of endurance and teamwork, and when the floats finally reach the top, there is a sense of joy and accomplishment in the air.
In addition to the float procession, there are also various festival performances to enjoy. Traditional music and dance performances are held throughout the festival, adding to the festive atmosphere. Local sake, a traditional Japanese rice wine, flows freely during the festival. Visitors can sample different varieties of sake while enjoying the performances, creating a lively and celebratory ambiance.
Another highlight of the Chichibu Yomatsuri is the fireworks display on the third day of the festival. This is a mesmerizing spectacle that lasts for over two hours, lighting up the night sky and adding to the magical atmosphere of the event. The combination of the illuminated floats, the music, and the fireworks create a truly unforgettable experience.
To get to Chichibu, the best way is by train. Chichibu is easily accessible from Tokyo Station, with the journey taking between an hour and 45 minutes to two hours and 20 minutes, depending on the train you choose. Alternatively, you can take the Laview limited express train from Ikebukuro in Tokyo, which takes approximately an hour and 20 minutes. Both Chichibu (Chichibu Railway) and Seibu-Chichibu (Seibu Railway) stations are located right in downtown Chichibu, making it convenient for festival-goers to reach the event.
The Chichibu Yomatsuri is often referred to as one of Japan’s three great float festivals, along with the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto and Takayama Matsuri in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture. What sets the Chichibu Yomatsuri apart is its wintertime setting. While the other two festivals take place during the summer, Chichibu’s festival occurs in the colder months, adding a unique and enchanting atmosphere to the event.
The festival is not only a celebration of tradition and culture but also an opportunity for the locals to showcase the beauty and charm of their hometown. Chichibu is known for its picturesque landscapes, including the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, which offers stunning natural scenery and outdoor activities. Visitors to the festival can explore the surrounding area and immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of Chichibu.
In conclusion, the Chichibu Yomatsuri is a winter night spectacle that should not be missed. With its grand float procession, lively festival performances, and breathtaking fireworks display, it is a truly unforgettable experience. The combination of tradition, culture, and natural beauty makes Chichibu an ideal destination for both locals and tourists alike. So, mark your calendars for December 2 and 3 and prepare to be amazed by the magic of the Chichibu Yomatsuri.
Address And Maps Location:
1-3 Banba-machi, Chichibu-shi, Saitama-ken