Daimyo Gyoretsu Parade in Yakage
Yakage town Tourism Organization
On the second Sunday in November, Yakage, in southwest Okayama, holds the Daimyo Gyoretsu, a grand costumed parade that re-enacts the Edo Period (1603-1868) procession of the regional lord entering the town. Yakage was once a prominent location on the road connecting Edo (now Tokyo) with western Japan. This road was used by Japan’s regional lords when they were required to travel to Edo every other year to serve the central military government.
These journeys were typically extravagant processions, with many retainers, to show the power and dignity of the lord. The re-enactment, staged along Yakage’s main street, involves some 80 people who play the roles of the regional lord, princess, handmaid, palanquin bearer and so on. Their colorful costumes are reminiscent of centuries ago. As the parade slowly moves along the road it is as if a traditional picture scroll is unfolding, making you feel as if you’ve slipped back in time. Even though the town’s loud speakers are constantly broadcasting the historically accurate command “Shita ni, shita ni” (look down) all eyes are on this picturesque parade.
Yakage is about 1 hour from Okayama Airport by car. By train from Okayama city it is also a journey of about 1 hour with a change of train at Kiyone Station.
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