The Koedo Kawagoe Spring Festival is an annual event that starts at the end of March. The opening of the event is usually on the last Saturday of March. It is currently set to start on Saturday March 25th 2023. However, it will end earlier than normal in 2023. Before the pandemic it always ran until the end of Golden week, but in 2023 it will end on Sunday April 23rd.
The event was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. It was on in 2022 for the 100th anniversary of Kawagoe city. However, the information was not readily available online due to the pandemic. Furthermore, they had less individual events than in a ‘normal’ year. This year, they started posting information in early February, so they look set to present a festival similar to pre-pandemic!
The 2023 Koedo Kawagoe Spring Festival
The Koedo Kawagoe Spring Festival is comprised of several individual events. They start on the day of the opening ceremony, Sunday March 25th in 2023, and run until the last day of the festival. The last day of the festival is two weeks earlier than normal in 2023. Usually it ends on the last day of Golden Week. I would speculate they chose not to have the event run into Golden Week due to the pandemic. That is, Kawagoe is busy enough during Golden Week (or any weekend) without a festival.
Some of the larger events on during the period of the spring festival, that have already been confirmed for 2023:
- Opening Ceremony, March 25th
- Edo Day, March 25th
- Shingashi River Sakura Boat ride, March 26th
- Koedo + Sakura + Wa Wine event, March 25th and 26th
- Street Piano, March 21st to April 2nd
- Hanachozu, March 4th to May 7th
- Flower Festival, April 9th
- Kura Market, March 25th
- Carp streamers, March 25th to May 15th 2023
Koedo Kawagoe Spring Festival Opening Ceremony
For the opening ceremony of the spring festival the area around Ichibangai (Kurazukuri no Machinami / Little Edo Warehouse District) is pedestrianized. As such there will be disruptions to traffic, bus routes and parking. The contents of the opening day are similar to in previous (pre-pandemic) years, but the order and locations are a little different:
- Musket Shooting
- 10 am beside Honmaru Goten
- 10.40 am in front of the Kawagoe Matsuri Kaikan
- 11 am at the Naka cho crossroads
- 11.40 am at Pepe Hon Kawagoe parking lot
- 12.05 in the precincts of Renkeiji
- “Hashigo Nori” traditional ladder balancing performances, such as what you see at a Dezome Shiki.
- 10:15 to 10:25 am in front of Kawagoe Matsuri Kaikan
- 10:40 to 10:50 am at Naka cho crossroads
- Fire brigade marching band
- from noon to 1 pm in front of the Kawagoe Matsuri Kaikan
For the first time in four years, Ichibangai (the principal street of the storehouse / warehouse district) will have an “Edo Day”. Merchants dress up in Edo period costumes and run several small events. For example, you can see a demonstration of how to do an Edo period hairdo! There is also children’s songs and “Edo period hospitality”! The event is not up on the official website yet, but I’m sure it will be added in the coming days.
Sakura Boat Ride
Another staple of the spring festival is the boat ride under the sakura on Shingashi river at the back of Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. Apart from the cherry blossoms on the Shingashi River being exceptionally scenic, the history of the cherry blossoms is very poignant as well. More information on the 2023 boat ride:
Koedo + Sakura + Wa Wine Festival
Renkeiji plays an important role in the annual spring festival in Kawagoe. This year they will have a two day event on the opening weekend of the festival. They will also have a flower festival on April 9th:
Each year during the cherry blossom season Nakain have a piano event. In 2023 it will be on from March 21st to April 2nd.
The Taisho Roman Yume Street fly carp streamers, as per the featured photo at the top of the post. They almost cancelled this element of the festival this year. But thankfully the organizers succumbed to the requests of locals and admirers to go ahead. The compromise: instead of making the carp streamers at a community painting event, they are inviting people to make the streamers at home. The streamers will be displayed from Saturday March 25th to May 15th 2023.
Cherry Blossoms in Kawagoe
Places to see cherry blossoms in Kawagoe during the period of the spring festival:
Koedo Kawagoe Spring Festival Information
Event: Koedo Kawagoe Spring Festival 小江戸川越春まつり
Dates: Saturday March 25th to Sunday April 23rd 2023
Hours: Depends greatly, but by and large between 10 am and 3 pm
Cost: A lot of the entertainment is free, but since 2022 the popular boat ride is charged. It costs 800 yen per person and the tickets need to be bought in advance.
Venue: Various. The opening ceremony is in the Ichibangai area – from Renkeiji to the old warehouse district. View on Google Maps.
Official Kawagoe City website, which is most likely to publish the news of a cancellation first.
Nearest station is Hon Kawagoe Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line, which is about a seven minute walk to the Ichibangai area of Kawagoe. It takes approximately 13 minutes from JR Kawagoe and Tobu Tojo Lines Kawagoe Station.
There is limited parking and it is charged by the half hour, usually around 300 yen for half an hour on the weekend.
The opening events are on if there is light rain, but heavy rain may cause changes or even a cancellation. Please check on the official tourism website for Kawagoe for up to date information nearer the date – such as announcements of changes or cancellations due to weather or other mitigating factors.
Originally published in 2016. This post was moved from the events calendar in August 2021 to the main blog area in February 2022. koedo-spring-festival-kawagoe