This yomatsuri (night festival) is one of Japan’s big three hikiyama (float) festivals (the others are the Gion Festival in Kyoto and Takayama’s autumn and spring festivals.
Chichibu Shrine itself has over 2,000 years of history. This is a great opportunity to catch an enchanting traditional festival.
The large floats, apparently weighing up to 20 tons each, are festooned with countless lanterns and decorated with flowers and spears. Also, this is a rare opportunity to see fireworks in the winter. There will be a pre-festival the night before, with more processions on the main day – so if you’re staying in the area be sure to head down to the shrine.
The Yomatsuri (Night Festival) will happen on Dec. 2 and the Grand Festival (the bigger festival of the two) will happen on Dec. 3.
Friday, Dec. 2 (Yomatsuri): Starting from around midday, floats will be paraded around the streets until around 4 p.m. Then, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the floats will once again perform. No fireworks have been announced on this day.
Saturday, Dec. 3 (Grand Festival): Starting from 9 a.m., there will be floats performing music and dance. This will continue most of the day, but the peak will be at 7 p.m. to around 10 p.m. Fireworks will be launched from Hitsujiyama Park starting from 19:30 to 22:00. Line-up here (JP).
So far, only the horseback archery has been canceled.
Tip: Chichibu is about two hours from Tokyo, so keep an eye on trains so you can get back in time!Organizers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.