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Chichibu Night Festival 秩父夜祭

Chichibu Yomatsuri Chichibu Yomatsuri
Chichibu Yomatsuri Chichibu Yomatsuri

chichibu tourism association

A winter night spectacle featuring 10-ton floats, music, and local sake

Saitama Prefecture's Chichibu Yomatsuri—a night festival dating back at least 350 years that is held on December 2 and 3 each year—is one of the Kanto area's most spectacular events. The festival draws a lively crowd of revelers to watch as 6 massive, ornately designed floats weighing between 10 and 20 tons are pulled through Chichibu's main avenue to drum and flute music.

The locals top that feat on the third day by pulling the floats up a steep hill as the crowd exhorts them while drinking local sake and eating local specialties.

Don't Miss

  • Watching as the floats are brought up Dango Hill
  • Seeing festival performances while drinking local sake
  • The hours-long fireworks display on the third day

How to Get There

Train is the best way to get to Chichibu and the festival.

The Chichibu Yomatsuri is held right in downtown Chichibu, right outside Chichibu (Chichibu Railway) and Seibu-Chichibu (Seibu Railway) stations.

From Tokyo Station , take the JR and Chichibu Railway Lines to get to Chichibu between an hour and 45 minutes and two hours and 20 minutes, depending on whether you take the shinkansen or local trains to Kumagaya Station.

Alternatively, you can take the Laview limited express train (reservation required) from Ikebukuro in Tokyo to Seibu-Chichibu Station. This takes approximately an hour and 20 minutes.

One of the greatest displays in Japan

The Chichibu Yomatsuri is said to be one of Japan's three great hikiyama or float festivals, along with the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto and Takayama Matsuri in Takayama , Gifu Prefecture . It's the only one that takes place in the wintertime.

The spectacle here in Chichibu is intensified with a nighttime fireworks display on the third day that lasts for over two hours.

chichibu tourism association

A festival of lanterns, floats and portable shrines

During the two nights of the festival, massive floats with imaginative decorations are towed through the town. The floats are adorned with lanterns, tapestries of gilded wood carvings and depictions of beasts and mythical figures. They're hauled along to the sounds of taiko drum and flute music.

chichibu tourism association

An impressive feat of strength

The festival's climax is on the second night when the 10- to 20-ton floats representing the different neighborhood associations of Chichibu are hauled up Dango Hill. It's a steep journey, and the six floats are heavy. Once they finally reach the top, everyone at the festival rejoices. During the middle of it all, there's a fireworks display that lasts well over two hours, lighting up the floats and the nighttime scene.

chichibu tourism association

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.

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