Gigantic floats, chanting pullers and spectacular fireworks draw thousands of revelers
|A decorative float burdened with singers makes it way down the streets of Chichibu, two hours northwest of Tokyo.|
TIME: Dec 2&3 12pm-8pm (the 2nd) &1pm-10pm (3rd)
PLACE: Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture (north of Tokyo)
GETTING THERE: SEIBU Line from Ikebukuro (1hr 20mins)
The Chichibu Yo-Matsuri (Night Festival), dating back to the 18th century, is one of the three most famous night festivals in Japan. The small city of Chichibu lies two hours northwest of Tokyo in the mountainous regions of Chichibu National Park. Despite the cold, large crowds descend upon the city every year in early December to see the colorful, illuminated floats parade through the streets.
An empty float before the parade
A fishy decorated float
The floats eventually come to a small, but steep hill where pullers and pushers have to gather up a surge of energy to yank their heavy float to the top of the hill, which also marks the end of the parade.
A singer aboard a float sings out into the cold night
The backsides of two colorful floats
Fireworks explode over a busy street
Three red-headed maidens decorate the back of one float