The Chichibu Night Festival is one of the top three float festivals in Japan, the others being the Kyoto Gion Festival and the Hida Takayama Festival. It is the principal festival at Chichibu Shrine, the main shrine in Saitama's Chichibu region.
Six floats (including 2 flower parasols) decorated with gorgeously colored carvings bring brilliant splashes of color to winter-time Chichibu.
On the evening of the 3rd, the paper lanterns decorating the floats are lit, casting a golden hue against the dusk sky.
The Chichibu Yatai Hayashi (musical accompaniment) brings the floats to life as they are drawn in procession up Dango Hill before fireworks bring the festival to its climax.More Information
The Chichibu Ondo dance competition attracts over 1,200 competitors every year from all parts of Saitama, flooding the Festival Square with competitors and spectators.
The evening of the festival is topped off with fireworks, brilliantly decorating the summer night sky.More Information
The Chichibu Kawase Festival is held at Chichibu Shrine's Hinomisaki and auxilliary shrines. Descended from the Gion Festival, a festival favored during the Heian Period, it is also known as the Chichibu Gion.
The July 19 vigil is rich in pageantry with 8 flower parasols and floats zigzagging raucously to the beat of the Chichibu Yatai Hayashi accompaniment.
The next day a 400-kg portable unpainted wooden shrine is carried in procession before ritual cleansing in the clear waters of the Arakawa river.
This is a fun festival for children with children playing the musical accompaniment for the flower parasols and floats and children pulling the floats in flower-adorned hats, making for an appealing sight.More Information
It is said that the Funadama festival started as a festival dedicated to the God of Water as a prayer for the safety of boatmen on water going downstream the Arakawa river.
Lanterns are floated down the river and boats with paper lanterns attached are sailed up and down the river.
At night, fireworks are set off from the far bank to the applause of spectators moved by their beauty and impact. It is held every year on August 15.More Information
The Ryusei (""dragon spirit"") is a Shinto ritual within the Muku Shrine Grand Autumn Festival and refers to traditional handmade bamboo rockets handed down through the generations. The name comes from the fact that the rockets are launched from a scaffold to resemble dragons rising up into the sky. Differing traditional techniques have spawned 28 different schools bringing unique touches to the various rockets, some 30 of which are launched on the day.More Information
The finale to the Chichibu festival calendar is this regular festival held at the Hachiman Shrine in Iida, Ogano. The highlight is the Shinto ritual called Otachi in which a sacred horse charges up stone steps amid gunsmoke and gunshot ringing in the air. The festival is richly complemented by the traditional flower parasol float procession to sacred music and a kabuki performance dedicated to the gods.More Information