The Kawagoe Summer Festival, as it is often referred to in English, is called the Kawagoe Million Lights Summer Festival in Japanese. The festival was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. It is one of several events, such as Kawagoe Fireworks, that are actually going ahead in 2022 thanks to the 100th anniversary of the city. If this year was not the centennial anniversary of Kawagoe city, they may not have hosted many of their annual events. As is the situation still in many cities and towns across Japan.
Kawagoe Million Lights Summer Festival
This will the 41st annual Kawagoe Million Lights Summer Festival, or Kawagoe Summer Festival for short. Only 30 minutes from Tokyo, the historic town of Kawagoe is a popular place to experience a typical Japanese summer festival. However, the Autumn Festival, known simply as Kawagoe Festival, is the main festival in Kawagoe annually.
The summer festival is celebrated each year on the last Saturday and Sunday of July. In 2022, that is Saturday July 30th and Sunday July 31st. They just released the tentative information on May 30th 2022, so the specifics haven’t come through yet. In a regular year the festival incluces parades, processions, portable shrines, music and dance.
There are also many festival stalls with traditional Japanese festival games or selling festival food.
They pedestrianize the area around Ichibangai for the festival.
Kawagoe Summer Festival with children
There are a number of attractions for children at this summer festival. Children can enjoy traditional festival games such as fishing for super balls or goldfish. There are stalls selling toys and others that offer kujibiki, a type of lottery only for toys rather than money. Over the years we have found the one at Maruhiro particularly good as the boobie prizes are better than most.
Also, generally the car park across the road from the West side of Maruhiro usually has a selection of rescue vehicles on display. I can’t guarantee they are this location every year, because every now and then we see them elsewhere. But a lot of the years, they are in this area. At the North of the department store there is a little seating area, where it is generally quiet (or at least quieter), if children need a breather. Also, Maruhiro has a nice baby room and obviously as it is indoors it is air conditioned and a good place to cool down. The rest areas on Ichibangai have mist blowing too. They don’t quite do the trick, but if you are in that area and want to cool down, its better than nothing!
More on Maruhiro at the Kawagoe festivals (and please note the roof top ferris wheel and amusement park closed permanently a couple of years ago):
Kawagoe Summer Festival 2022 information
Dates: Saturday July 30th and Sunday July 31st 2022
As aforementioned, they only just released the date (May 30th 2022) so the finer details are not yet available. But if it follows a ‘normal’ year:
Time: from 2 pm on the Saturday and Sunday
Contact: Kawagoe City Tourist Information Office 049-222-5556
Location: Spreads over a large area from around Kawagoe and Hon Kawagoe Station to the main tourist area by the Bell Tower.
The main part of the festival is close to Hon Kawagoe Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line. It is an approximate 8 minute walk from Kawagoe station on the JR Kawagoe and Tobu Tojo Lines to the main area, but there are also attractions and events close to this station too.
they certainly know how to run a good festival in Japan!