Festivals & Events
Kumagaya Uchiwa Festival 熊谷うちわ祭り
A festival with millions of fans
Kumagaya Uchiwa Matsuri is a huge festival held in Kumagaya every year from July 19 to 23. One of the biggest festivals in the region, it attracts over a quarter of a million participants each year. Come to see the floats, watch a drumming competition, and collect some fans.
How to Get There
Kumagaya is conveniently accessed from Tokyo via either shinkansen or the JR Takasaki Line.
The Hokuriku and Joetsu Shinkansen Lines stop at Kumagaya. Alternatively, from Ueno Station, take the JR Takasaki Line to Kumagaya Station. The festival is held throughout the city.
More than 750,000 people participate in the fan festival each year
At 6:00 p.m. on the third day, all 12 floats gather around Festival Square, along with over 200,000 people
Traditional Japanese fans beat the summer heat
During the 19th century, shops in Kumagaya began handing out traditional Japanese fans, called uchiwa, to shoppers to knock away the summer heat. Over time, this tradition grew into a full-fledged festival. Today the fans themselves aren't as crucial to the Kumagaya Uchiwa Matsuri, but the name remains. Like all modern Japanese summer festivals, it's an excuse to hit the streets and have a good time.
Legendary figures of Japan
The festival features a colorful parade where 12 massive floats proceed down the town's main streets. Along with the floats march droves of people heaving mikoshi portable shrines, musicians beating drums and blowing flutes, and revelers drinking and dancing. The floats depict legendary figures from Japanese history such as Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan.
A drumming competition
The highlight of the festival is an event called tatakiai, a competition where young men show off their drumming skills, beating giant taiko drums on the floats. Enjoy the show and grab some food and snacks from the many vendors around town.