Festivals & Events
Every year on November 3, the streets of Yumoto in Hakone come alive with the Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu parade. The 170-strong procession of people dressed as samurai, princesses and other figures stride six kilometers through the famous hot spring town.
This event is easily accesibly by train from Tokyo and a short walk.
The starting point of the Hakone Daimyo Parade, Soun-ji, is just a short distance from Hakone-Yumoto Station and easily reached by rail.
Take the JR Tokaido Line from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station, then the Hakone Tozan Railway from Odawara Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station.
This parade has origins in the Edo period practice of sankin kotai, or alternate attendance, in which feudal lords were required to spend alternating years in Edo (now Tokyo).
By requiring feudal lords not only to travel to Edo every other year, but also maintain residences in both places, the shogun was able to limit their financial power and thus discourage rebellion.
Re-creating the procession leaving for Edo, the Hakone Daimyo Parade departs from Soun-ji at 10 a.m. All members of the procession have their own roles and are armed with different weapons as they carry their lord along in a palanquin, shouting "Down! Down! The Lord comes!"
The parade finally reaches its destination, the Yumoto Fujiya Hotel, a litte after 2 p.m.
There are also performances by marching bands accompanying both the beginning and end of the parade. Visitors can also see traditional dance performances unique to hot spring areas.