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Chichibu Night Festival in 2020 | CHICHIBU
December 2 @ 08:00 - December 3 @ 17:00Free
Chichibu Night Festival – held annually on December 2nd and 3rd.
Japanese people seem to have an magnanimous love of the number three. One of the ways this manifests itself is in the numerous compilations of top threes that are famous within the country. There are the three gardens of Japan, the three views of Japan, the three night views of Japan, the big three festivals, the big three fireworks and so on and so forth.
Featured image used with permission from John Becker photography.
Chichibu Night Festival also makes it on to a top three list or more accurately a “greatest” list. It is one of Japan’s three greatest Hikiyama (pull-float) festivals in Japan, together with Gion Matsuri in Kyoto and Takayama Matsuri in Gifu prefecture. It is also now a registered World Cultural Heritage event since 2016.
The floats of Chichibu Night Festival
The floats of this 300 year old festival, which are very different to the better known Mikoshi (portable shrine), 「奉奏」 are on wheels and are drawn by a rope, by bearers clad in traditional festival clothes. There are a number of different floats classified as Kasaboko or Yatai. Both are floats with beautifully carved ornate roofs. There are two main differences between them. The first is that the Kasaboko have an appendage on the roof, which remind me of Yorishiro, the white paper decorations you see around trees at shinto shrines. The Yatai does not have this decoration. The second is that the Yatai have room for performers to sit and play music and / or dance, which Kasaboko do hot have. They pull the floats around the town on both days of the festival:
Chichibu Night Festival Schedule
If the 2019 festival follows the schedule of previous years: On the 2nd the floats will be pulled from Chichibu shrine from about 12 noon first to Miyakawa then Moto Machi, Naka Machi and finally Kami Machi at approximately 4 pm. During this time you can watch the floats being turned and danced around the street. The yatai will have live traditional music and you can witness traditional dance…. Please go to ↓
Even further more detailed information including all the key areas mapped is on the blog portion of this website:
Steam Locomotive to Chichibu
Events by their very nature are tentative. Please do check with the official sources for any last minute changes due to weather or other mitigating factors.