The sculptures and decorations of Kasahoko
“Chichibu Yomatsuri” (The Night Festival of Chichibu) is held every year on December 2 and 3 as “Rei-taisai” (regular rites and festivals) of “Chichibu Shrine” in the city. The first thing you see when you arrive at Seibu Chichibu Station is the scenery of “Mt. Bukou”.
In mythology, this mountain has Ryujin (God of Dragon), which is the god of men. And the goddess named “Myoken-sama” is enshrined at Chichibu Shrine. Although they loved each other, in fact, Ryujin had another god (Suwa-sama) who was his wife. The origin of the night festival is that every year on December 3rd with the permission of his wife. On the night of December 2, there is a ritual at Suwa. On the night of the third day, “Goshinko” (parade of mikoshi) is held.
Although it is called “Night Festival”, please visit on the 3rd in the morning. From around 9:00 in the morning, four festival cars and two Kasabokos have begun to roam, and you can take a closer look at the sculptures and decorations of Kasaboko and festival cars. By the way, “Kasaboko / festival car” itself is also designated as a nationally designated tangible folk cultural property.
One of the highlights of “Chichibu Yomatsuri” is the play on the festival car. The stage of Kabuki was originally a festival car only in the center part, and overhanging stages were installed on both sides to perform Kabuki. One turn town every year will prepare for this performance for months. This festival car event, designated as an important intangible folk cultural property, cannot be overlooked.
Kabuki is often imagined as a professional play performed at the Kabukiza theater, but here in Chichibu it is a kabuki performed by local people called “jishibai” performance (amateur performance by local residents) . Usually, people with full-time employees gather, practice regularly, and pass on the Kabuki culture to children.
This is a valuable opportunity to see “jisibai” that you can’t see much in Japan now on the street. Please enjoy this as part of the festival!
Charms and Highlights of Chichibu Yomatsuri
The festival has been held in the early Edo period 300 years ago
“Chichibu Yomatsuri” (The Night Festival of Chichibu) is Reisai (annual festival) of Chichibu Shrine located in Chichibu city, Saitama Prefecture. The festival is also one of three major beautiful festivals or three major floats festivals in Japan along with the Takayama Matsuri Festival held in Hida and Gion Festival held in Kyoto City, and is a representative festival in Japan.
“Chichibu Yomatsuri” is said to have already been held in the early Edo period 300 years ago, from the high historical and cultural value, it is designated as both the “important tangible folk cultural property” and “important Intangible Folk Cultural Asset ” of the country. “Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals in Japan” have been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2016, and “Chichibu Yomatsuri” was also registered as one of them. The festival is scheduled to be held every three days from December 2 to 4 every year. Especially at the Taisai Festival on 3rd December, “drawing a festival car in the town” was held all day and showed great excitement.
“Taisai” is a day that can also be called the actual performance of “Chichibu Yomatsuri”, from 6 o’clock in the morning to the early next morning, all six festival cars are drawn. Also, like the Yoimiya Festival (eve of a festival vigil), each festival cars shows festival music, nagauta (festival song), dance and so on. Besides this, one of the festival cars is used as a “Kabuki stage” every year, and a play is performed. At night, about 7,000 fireworks exceeding the Yoimiya Festival will be launched from the Hitsujiyama Park and burn the Chichibu night sky in winter.
One of the three major beautiful festivals in Japan
The “Chichibu Yomatsuri” (the night festival of Chichibu) is one of three major beautiful festivals or three major floats festivals in Japan along with the “Takayama Matsuri Festival” held in Hida and “Gion Matsuri Festival” held in Kyoto City.
Reache its climax in the night of December 3
It has more than 300 years of history. The Yoimiya Festival (Festival of eve) is held every December 2, and the Taisai Festival (Grand Festival) is held every December 3. This festival reaches its climax in the night of December 3.
Significant folk cultural asset
Six of the kasaboko and the Yatai (both are festival cars), which has been designated as an significant folk cultural asset, are pulled in the festival. On December 3, Chichibu is filled with many tourists.
Continued to attract audiences for a long time
The annual festival of the Chichibu Shinto shrine known as “Chichibu Yomatsuri” with the gorgeous kasaboko and yatai being drawn throughout the town, magnificent “yataibayashi” (music of festival), fireworks coloring a night sky, and festival dance, continued to attract audiences for a long time.
Information(Access, Price/Charge, Tel, Address, Official site, etc.)
|Name:||Chichibu Yomatsuri (The Night Festival of Chichibu)|
|Adresse:||Miyakawacho 14 Chichibu, Saitama 368-0046 Japan|
|Access:||Chichibu-Tetsudo Line “Chichibu-eki Station” (1 minute walk)|
|Tel:||(+81) 494-22-0262 (Chichibu-Jinja Shrine)|