Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kawagoe Fall Festival

The afternoon of my first full day in Tokyo we took the train to Kawagoe, a city in Saitama Prefecture about an hour from Tokyo, for their annual festival. Kawagoe was a castle town during the Edo period and it's now referred to as "Ko-edo" or "Little Edo" for its preservation area of merchant houses. Every year on the third weekend of October thousands of people vist to watch their colorful street festival. Lucky for us we were invited to watch the events along the shrine parade route from the balcony of a friend's family business.

Wow, the main street....people as far as one's eye could see.

Lots of food booths at this street festival.

The first float we saw as we made our way to meet our friends. The floats are 7 meters (22.9 feet) have wheels and are pulled along by many people.

There's a traditional band
on each float with flutes, drums and bells.

Revelers in the street wearing the same clan (neighborhood) clothing as our friends.

And here we have a closer view of their clan float from our friend's balcony. I think it's the Renjaku-sho Dokan Festival Float.

Two beautiful women....our friend and her 90 something grandmother.

Highlight of the festival parade "Hikkawase" or face off for the right of way. The road isn't wide enough for two floats to pass. So they face off with flutes, drums and bells playing and people in the street from each clan dancing and chanting. The winner has the right of way while the loser pulls to the side until the winner has passed. It was very friendly and lots of fun.

A colorful booth of a different a clan along the shrine parade route.

Another clan booth with members wearing their clan "colors".

A Holga photo of a festival shrine.

1 comment:

YTSL said...

That parade looks very cool! And even cooler is that you have a local connection to it through your friends. :)