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KAWAGOE MATSURI

Kawagoe Matsuri is one of the most charming festivals in the metropolitan area. The highly decorated floats are called "dashi" and the city owns 29. The festival is held on Saturday and Sunday of the third week in October and 19 floats parade through the city each day. The origin of the festival goes back 360 years ago when Matsudaira Nobutsuna, then fief of Kawagoe-han (domain), donated a portable shrine and equipments for the celebration to the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. From then on, the festival has continued with changes, introducing styles of the festivals of Sanno Matsuri and Kanda Matsuri in Edo (present Tokyo). In the evening , the floats are lit up by lanterns and the festival reaches its climax. Every year, more than one million people visit the town during the festival days.

The feature of Kawagoe Matsu is a large number of beautiful dashi (floats) while in Tokyo, dashi in Edo period disappeared during the course of time and they are replaced by mikoshi (portable shrines).

Kawagoe is an old city in Saitama prefecture with a population of 330,000 only 40 k.m. north of Tokyo (today the city is a bedtown of Tokyo). 30 minutes train ride by Tobu Tojo Line from Ikebukuro.

Kawagoe is called A Little Edo. The city retains about 23 city designated traditional merchant houses built with wattle and daub. The fire resistant buildings are called dozo zukuri and the street which is lined up with old merchant houses is called kurazukuri street. On the same street area is the tokinokane bell tower (16 meters high). The original bell tower was built during 1624-44 and the present bell tower was rebuilt in 1894 after the big fire in 1983.


Access: Kawagoe Station on Tobu Tojo Line from Ikebukuro. 32 minutes by express.
Telephones: 049-222-5556 (Kawagoe Sightseeing Information Office)/ 049-224-8811 (Kawagoe City Government)

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Kawagoe Matsuri 2012

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