Odawara Hojo Godai Festival 小田原北條五代祭り

Warriors fill the streets, bands of ninja skulk nearby, and performers energize the crowd

The Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri is an annual festival in early May in Odawara , just south of Tokyo. Setting out from the grounds of Odawara Castle , the martial display features a massive procession of performers in feudal era period costumes.

Don't Miss

  • The ninja lurking in the procession
  • Revelers carrying portable shrines, known as mikoshi
  • Getting there early to explore Odawara Castle

How to Get There

Odawara is easily accessible from Tokyo Station via the JR Tokaido Line, and the venue is a short walk from Odawara Station.

Depending on whether you take the shinkansen or a regular train, it takes between 30 minutes and an hour and a half to arrive at Odawara Station. Odawara Castle is just a 10-minute walk from the station.

The samurai era brought to life

The Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri honors the warlords of the powerful Hojo clan that ruled the region for five generations starting in the late 15th century.

The procession sets out from the grounds of the elegant Odawara Castle , slowly making its way through the city. Hundreds of samurai warriors in colorful costumes, including musket-toting foot soldiers and cavalry, march along with women in antique kimono, bands of ninja, and other performers looking like they stepped out of Japan's feudal past.

Dancers and musicians join the costumed performers, as do revelers shouldering portable shrines known as omikoshi.

Food stalls offering festival fare like fried noodles and takoyaki add to the upbeat atmosphere.

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