Japan's oldest surviving castle is the background for a festival featuring karakuri dolls and splendid floats
Only 12 castles remain in original condition across Japan, and of those only five have been allocated the National Treasure status. The Inuyama Festival Float Event began in 1635 at the encouragement of Naruse Hayato no Sho Masatora, a chief retainer of the Owari Tokugawa family and lord of Inuyama Castle, and has been handed down to the present. It is a festival of Haritsuna Shrine, where the local guardian deity is worshiped. Thirteen splendid floats, all of them with three tiers, give karakuri doll performances that have been passed down since the Edo period to the sound of flute and taiko music. At night, all the floats weave their way through avenues lined with cherry trees in full bloom as they parade through the castle town, each of them bearing 365 glowing lanterns. This magnificent sight is truly like something out of a nishiki-e woodblock print.