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.
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 over 1100 festival stalls lining the streets of the historic town, a lot of the food and game stalls are close to Hon-Kawagoe station. The floats and portable shrines parade the streets piping traditional Japanese festival music from late in the afternoon.
The festival is that big that it is spread out over a large area. The floats are up around the city hall. The festival stalls spread from Hon-Kawagoe station to the main tourist strip at Ichibangai. There are also stalls up the Crea Mall. There is an area for kids to play along here and the best kujibiki for kids: Fun shopping and Festival Hotspot: Maruhiro | KAWAGOE.
Kawagoe Festival Schedule
Please note there maybe changes due to the pandemic. But in a normal year, you can see the floats outside city hall on the Saturday of the festival between 2 pm and 3 pm. In addition, you can see the floats lit up and being moved around like a dance performance on Saturday the 14th between 6 and 7 pm.
They parade the floats around City Hall again on Sunday the 21st between 1.30 and 3 pm. You can read more about the floats on the English language website here. This year’s full day schedules are not yet ready, but here is a 7 page pamphlet from 2018 with lots of information, unfortunately it is in the Japanese language only:
While in Kawagoe, how about trying a foot spa café in a zen garden with beautiful Japanese parasols:
Or rent a kimono to enhance the experience:
Dates: October 15th and 16th
Hours: the hours for the 2022 festival will be available on the official website from tomorrow, September 16th. Presumably from early morning to around 8 pm.
Phone: Queries to the Kawagoe Tourist office on 049-222-5556.
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.
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.
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.