Horo festival, also known as Horokake matsuri, is a religious celebration and unique cultural event. September is the month for cultural and religious events after all! There are so many in fact, that I only pick a select few to share, such as the distinctive Horo Festival. This event has been on the website for the last seven years, but it never got much of a reach. Probably because – unless you are searching for the term Horo Festival – it doesn’t easily come up on an online search. Moreover, as it was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 and limited to patrons of the shrine in 2022, I haven’t openly advertised it in years. So to make it more visible for 2023, I am republishing this post.
This only-in-Japan festival is on at Furuoya Hachiman Shrine in the Furuya area of Kawagoe. It is a small, local festival. However, it is a designated cultural intangible folk property of Saitama Prefecture. Furuoya Hachiman shrine used to host the Horo Festival annually on September 15th, but they are changing the date in 2023 to be held on the Sunday before Respect for the Aged Day, a national holiday in Japan. As such, in 2023, it will be on Sunday the 17th of September.
The festival starts at 1 pm with performances. Around 2 pm the Horo arrives. They make the Horo with paper flowers displayed on 36 bamboo frames. Four children from the local elementary school are selected to carry the Horo. From 3 pm the Horo parades from the shrine. The image below is from Yell Kawagoe, which unfortunately stopped publishing in 2015. It was a great website for Local Kawagoe Information. Take a look at the page linked though for some wonderful photos from the festival taken in 2011.
Event: Horo / Horokake Festival ほろ祭・ ホロカケマツリ
Date: Sunday September 17th 2023
Time: from 1 pm
Cost: there is no admission fee, but it is customary to put a contribution in the shrine’s prayer / donation box.
Venue: Furuoya Hachiman shrine, 1408 Furuyahongo, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-0002. View on Google Maps.
The festival is on in the outskirts of Kawagoe. The location is near the Arakawa River, which separates it from Nishi ward. If you are coming by car it is closer to the rural area of Nishi ward than downtown Kawagoe. The two nearest train stations are Minami Furuya and Sashiogi on the Saikyo and Kawagoe Line.
The shrine does not have an official website. However, the official Kawagoe city website has information which is updated annually.
Things to do in Kawagoe
There are a huge amount of things to do in Kawagoe. You will find over 100 things to do in Kawagoe on this blog! Use the Kawagoe tag to find a selection of events, things to do and see, flowers and places to eat in the area.