Samurai, warriors, dancing girls, marching bands and – shita ni! Bow your head! – the daimyo himself are the main draws of the Hakone Daimyo March (gyoretsu in Japanese), a parade recreating a feudal Japanese sankin kotai, or daimyo journey. This is definitely one for the history-lovers, or anyone with a jones for pomp and ceremony: 200 participants dressed as samurai, Yakko warriors, workers and princesses in period costume commemorate the daimyo’s journey through Hakone along the old Tokaido, the major Edo-era route from Kyoto to Tokyo. There are also marching bands, demonstrations of feudal activities, and dance performances to check out along the way.
The gyoretsu starts off at about 9:45 from the Yumoto Elementary school near Sounji Temple, passing through the Teiseien area at around noon, and finally through the Hakone Yumoto Station area before ending at the Yumoto Fujiya Hotel at about 14:00. The nearest station is Hakone Yumoto, and it is recommended that you take the train and walk to the venue from the station, as many of the roads are closed for the parade. After a long day digging history, soak your body and soul in one of the town’s many onsen.