Here Comes The Festival – Chichibu
One of the views and shots I always try to get in a festival is the “approach” of a festival team, a cart or a group. It just looks so magnificent when they come towards you, often on almost empty streets. I love how the festival takes the place of the ordinary running of the town, when even police cars and busses have to give way. It is rare in any modern society to see such scenes that are peaceful at the same time. Here’s one of the three teams that commandeered the town of Chichibu in the grand Night Festival in the beginning of this month. The festival carts, or dashi, are really magnificent and are pulled by the citizens themselves, even kids and teenagers pitch in to help out! The cart has entrances to the back and the front but these are usually used for ceremonial purposes, the men manning the cart from the roof enter through a trap door underneath the wagon. Most people who participate wear traditional festival coats with their names or the names of the group they belong to printed or embroidered. Many groups of friends take pride in wearing the best looking uniforms and especially young women take the chance to get their hair done in some really extravagant styles! The vast majority of festivals are supremely peaceful but in some rougher neighborhoods young men of different teams sometimes flex their muscles in front of rival teams. This festival in Saitama prefecture north of Tokyo though, is one of the best winter time festivals in Japan! You can see my other posts about this festival here.