Gyoda Hanachozu Week
Ⓒ Gyoda City
Gyoda Tourism Bureau
When visiting a shrine or a temple in Japan, you may have noticed large water basins at the entrance, where worshippers wash their hands and rinse their mouth in an act of ritual purification called “chozu.” Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this practice has been largely discontinued, but Gyoda City in Saitama Prefecture has found a new purpose for unused chozu bowls. Colorful flowers (“hana” in Japanese) are placed in the water, creating artistic displays known as Hanachozu.
The idea started in April 2020 at Gyoda Hachiman Shrine, with the aim of “providing healing” during the difficult period of self-restraint imposed by the pandemic. The initiative then spread to Sakitama Shrine, and from October of the same year, the eaves of shops and private houses throughout Gyoda begun displaying decorative Hanachozu as well, warming the hearts of locals and visitors alike.
Today, more than 90 Hanachozu displays are periodically exhibited around town for the Gyoda Hanachozu Week, which is held from the 1st to the 14th day of every month except July and August, and from the 15th day to the last day in January and November. Stroll around the heritage town of Gyoda and enjoy beautiful floral arrangements that make for great photo spots. Designs and flower types change according to the season, so you will probably find different Hanachozu on each visit. The event is free of charge!
Starting from April 2021, for one night during Gyoda Hanachozu Week, the Hanachozu at Gyoda Hachiman Shrine and Sakitama Shrine are lit up for a special event called Light of Hope. Gyoda’s landmark, the famous Oshi Castle is also illuminated for the occasion, delighting visitors with a magical and evocative atmosphere.
From Kumagaya Station, take the JR Takasaki Line to Gyoda Station (about 4 minutes) or the Chichibu Railway to Gyodashi Station (about 9 minutes). Gyoda Hachiman Shrine is 7 minutes on foot from Gyodashi Station.
Gyoda Hachiman Shrine: 16-23 Gyoda, Gyoda-shi, Saitama-ken
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