Chichibu Kawase Festival

A truly energizing festival, the Chichibu Kawase Festival and Fireworks is one of the highlights of summer in Chichibu. They cancelled the festival in both 2020 and 2021, but in 2021 they had a mini surprise fireworks on the 19th. The festival was on again in 2022 and is currently scheduled for 2023 also.

Chichibu Kawase Festival and fireworks

They say that the Chichibu Kawase Festival is the opposite to Chichibu’s most famous festival – the yomatsuri or night festival – which takes place in December annually. Instead of a night festival, its a day festival. Rather than a winter festival it is a summer festival. In addition, instead of being for adults, its for children. Children play a large and important role in this traditional festival. In Chichibu it is regarded as a type of “gion” festival.

Each year the festival is on July 19th and 20th, regardless what day of the week it is. The fireworks are usually on the 19th of July. They have actually not said either way yet whether the fireworks are on in 2023. But I get the feeling they will launch them! No guarantees! Chichibu City have said that the specifics for 2023 won’t be released until nearer the time.

Chichibu Shrine

People come from far and wide to enjoy the cooler temperatures and the celebrations at the 2000 year old Chichibu shrine. Prior to the pandemic the estimated the number of visitors was about 40,000. They expected at least twice that in 2020, with the Olympics, but then you-know-what happened! There are usually about 300 festival stalls selling food and/or drink and/or festival goods.

chichibu kawase festival
From the official Chichibu navigation website 2015

Like all good traditional festivals there are floats and a portable shrine. You can see the floats on the 19th and 20th. On the 19th, traditional music echoes around the town as the eight festival floats are paraded. The floats are lit up at night with lanterns. They usually perform Kagura too, but this element may not be on in 2023.

On the 20th the portable shrine, is carried down to, and in to, the Arakawa / Ara River. In 2022, that was done in the morning. They have the usual blessing first, but access to the blessing ritual may also be restricted. Then the 400 kilogram shrine makes it way to the river around 10 am. In 2022, they did not have a farewell to the festival floats like they usually do.

Chichibu Kawase festival 2023

Address: Banba machi, Chichibu, Saitama 368-0041.

Plus Code (for Chichibu Shrine): X3XM+2M Chichibu, Saitama.

Phone: 0494-23-1110 between 10 am and 5 pm.

Dates: always on the 19th and 20th of July

2022 Hours: (the 2023 information will not be released until nearer the time) from 1 pm to 10 pm on the 19th and from 9 am to 9 pm on the 20th.

Access

The festival takes place in different areas of the Banba district of Chichibu city. The Chichibu shrine is the focal point and that is only a 3 minute walk from Chichibu station.

If you are coming by car there is normally free parking for 300 cars in different locations around the area. However, there maybe limited parking in 2022 due to the pandemic in an effort to keep the number of visitors down.

Official event web page

For more events in Saitama, please see the main events category.

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