2006 Kawagoe Festival float by night

The Kawagoe Festival is held annually on the third Saturday and Sunday of October. However, due to the pandemic, Kawagoe city cancelled the festival in both 2020 and 2021. But great news for 2022 – the city are planning the festival. As it is the 100 year anniversary of the inauguration of Kawagoe City, they have opted to go ahead with most festivals, even their fireworks display, despite the pandemic. However, it is a festival lite in 2022, but even still it is a big festival!

Kawagoe Festival Photo Competition Winner, from the official website of the Kawagoe Matsuri
Kawagoe Festival Photo Competition Winner 2018, from the official website of the Kawagoe Matsuri


Kawagoe Festival

The annual Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage Kawagoe festival is one of the largest Autumn festivals in Japan. In 2019 they were anticipating a record number of visitors to join in the autumn festival celebration. However, the very large typhoon Hagibis effected the 2019 attendance. Then in 2020 and 2021 Kawagoe City cancelled the festival due to the pandemic. In 2022, it is scheduled to go ahead on Saturday October 15th and Sunday October 16th.

There are normally more than 1100 festival stalls lining the streets of the historic town. The festival floats and portable shrines parade the streets piping traditional Japanese festival music from late in the afternoon. However, in 2022 the festival is on for shorter than normal, especially on Sunday, and there are less elements to it than normal. Moreover, there will be no festival stalls on the main street in 2022. But there will be “festival stall villages”…

The Festival stall situation in 2022

In order to ease the flow of movement with the pandemic still in our midst, Kawagoe City decided that there will be no festival stalls on the main route the festival floats take. That includes Ichibangai, the main strip of the ware / storehouse district. However, the shops on that street are allowed set up stalls outside their premises, so long as they are compact and don’t have tarp. There are several shops planning to have a small stall outside their premises, including, for example, Vanitoy Bagel.

Festival Stall Villages

There are four ‘yatai mura’ stall villages on the 2022 official map of the Kawagoe Festival. They will be open from 10 am to 9.30 pm on Saturday October 15th and from 10 am to 9 pm on Sunday October 16th.

  1. Maruhiro Department Store East Car park
  2. Times Saiwaicho Number 2 Car Park
  3. MS Tourist Bus car park
  4. Renkeiji

Maruhiro, which is always a festival hot spot, will have approximately 150 stalls in 2022. In the car park at back of the department store. You can get festival food such as Okonomiyaki, Yakisoba, Takoyaki and candied apples in this festival stall village. They usually have a great kujibiki for kids at the front of the store. I hope that is available in 2022.

Other festival stall areas

In addition, there are also a number of stores that are planning to use their large premises for festival stalls. For example, Kawagoe Prince Hotel by Hon-Kawagoe Station and Matsumoto Soy Sauce, home to the trendy “Kingyotei” goldfish themed cafe, on the back street of Ichibangai. Actually both these locations have festival stalls each year. A highlight of the Matsumoto Soy Sauce stall village is gyoza!

Jinkosai

The Jinkosai is the main part of the entire festival. It is an elaborate procession. It starts and finishes at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. See the schedule paragraph for times. The yellow on the map below shows the route of the Jinkosai in 2022.

The route of the Kawagoe Festival in 2022

Festival Floats

The festival float event always follows the “Jinkousai”. In 2022 there will be 29 festival floats from 27 districts of Kawagoe City. See the schedule paragraph for times. The pink in the map above shows the festival floats route in 2022.

Festival bunting

As of October 11th the festival bunting is up all over the tourist area;

Festival bunting up all over the tourist area already on October 11th 2022

Kawagoe Festival Schedule

Kawagoe Festival Floats outside city hall in 2016

2022 specific – Saturday 15th: The ‘Jinkousai’ starts at 1 pm from Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine and returns around 3.15 ~ 3.30 pm. The ‘Yoiyama’ with the floats lit up is from 6 pm to 7 pm. Around the warehouse district there are ladder acrobats (like at a dezome shiki) between 6.20 and 6.40 pm.

2022 specific – Sunday 16th: Festival floats on parade around city hall from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm.

Here is a 7 page pamphlet about the festival, from 2018, with lots of information, unfortunately it is in the Japanese language only. There is some information about the history of the festival in English on the Kawagoe Matsuri Website.

While you were gone!

If you haven’t been in Kawagoe during the pandemic, there are quite a few new places for you to try out! Such as:

2022 Information

Dates: October 15th and 16th

Hours: the hours for the 2022 festival are shorter than normal. In a normal year the festival is on from early morning to around 8 pm at night. However, in 2022, the festival starts from 1 pm to around 7 pm on Saturday and from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm on Sunday. Check the official website for more updates.

Phone: Queries to the Kawagoe Tourist office on 049-222-5556.

Access

The festival is always spread over a large area and that is the same in 2022.

Access from Seibu Shinjuku line’s Hon-Kawagoe and Tobu Tojo Line’s Kawagoe-shi stations. You can also walk from Tobu Tojo Line’s Kawagoe station, it takes about 12 minutes.


Rent a kimono to enhance the experience!?:

Kimono Rental Kawagoe

I have personally been at this festival dozens of times, I’ve even worked at it in the past! Here are some photos from over the years.

The Kawagoe Festival post appeared in the main section of Saitama With / Without Kids and was moved to the Event Pages in 2016. The Event pages were removed from the blog in 2021 and this post was moved back to the main pages in September 2022.

 20131020

No Comments

    1. Author

      But it in the diary for next Autumn! Its lovely to visit anytime of the year, but the Autumn festival has a real buzz about it. I cry every time, seriously, I don’t know if its the music or the community spirit or the festivities, but I always get weepy eyed with emotion!

  1. Unfortunately, it rained a lot this year. So I’m looking forward to visiting the festival next year. 😀
    Great photos.

    1. Author

      Yes it was a pity there was so much rain. I didn’t go this summer either; because it was too hot! Next year 🙂

    1. Author

      Its a great place to visit for sure. I usually just take photos with my archaic mobile phone so the quality isn’t great, but I think people just like to see what its like here. I love your blog!

  2. The festival looks great, i’ll hope to see one when i back again to Japan 🙂

    1. Author

      Thank you for your comment. 🙂 I hope you do get to see one, I looking forward to reading about it someday on your lovely blog 😉

Comments are always appreciated...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.