Chichibu Night Festival


Chichibu Night Festival (Chichibu Yomatsuri )

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Mid-Winter
***** Category: Observance


Chichibu Yomatsuri 秩父夜祭 (ちちぶよまつり)
Chichibu Matsuri 秩父祭(ちちぶまつり)

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December 2nd and 3rd

Chichibu Yomatsuri is a festival of Chichibu Shrine which has a history of more than 2,000 years. It is one of Japan's three greatest hikiyama (float) festivals, together with the Gion Matsuri of Kyoto (July 1st-31st) and the Takayama Matsuri of Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture (April 14th and 15th, and October 9th and 10th).

The main attraction of this festival takes place on the 3rd (the 2nd features an event held on the eve called Yoiyama). Two kasaboko floats which are large parasol-like objects decorated on top with weapons such as spears, and artificial flowers together with four yatai floats shaped like small houses are paraded through the city streets. In the afternoon, the floats are transformed into stages by pulling out wings on either side, where Kabuki plays are performed.

The most exciting scene of the festival unfolds on the evening of the 3rd when kasaboko and yatai floats, weighing 10-20 tons each and lit up with countless lanterns, climb up a steep slope with a mikoshi (a portable shrine). The spectators' excitement reaches its peak at the powerful sound of the drums and flutes, and the unique festival shouts of 'Ho-ryai! Ho-ryai!' The fireworks illuminating the clear winter evening skies are another of the attractions of this festival.
© Japan National Tourist Organization

More ENGLISH reference


Star Festival at the Chichibu Shrine
The Deity Myooken is celebrated.

It is believed Myoken Bosatsu, the goddess of Chichibu Shrine, and the dragon god of Mount Buko meet once a year at a site called Otabijo -- literally, "a place of pilgrimage" -- symbolizing Horai, where the fruit of immortality is said to grow, on Dec. 3. The pair are supposed to meet at Kame-no-ko Ishi (Tortoise Stone). The tortoise symbolizes the earth (the goddess) and the dragon god symbolizes the sky.

Star Shrines of Japan
Gabi Greve

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

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Chichibu Daruma
Daruma Museum Japan


CLICK for more photos of the fireworks

Chichibu sai katakake no karin fuyu hanabi

Chichibu Festival -
half of a fire ring missing
at the winter fireworks

© kakashi007
Tr. Gabi Greve


This not about the festival, but a local
Chichibu Kagura Dance

天高し 狐も出でしい 村神楽
ten takashi kitsune mo ideshi mura kagura

bright autumn sky -
even a fox appears at
the local shrine dance

heller Herbsthimmel -
sogar ein Fuchs erscheint
beim Dorf-Shreintanz

in Chichibu, near Tokyo, 1990
Gabi Greve


Related words

***** Kagura Dance (Japan)


mukashi kike Chichibu dono sae sumootori

listen to the old stories -
even the lord of Chichibu
did some sumo wrestling

Tr. Gabi Greve

Written about 貞亨元年, Basho age 41 or older.

Chichibu Dono refers to the samurai Hatakeyama Shigetada 畠山重忠 (1164 - 1205), who was a vassal of the famous Minamoto no Yoritomo 源頼朝 (1147 - 1199).
In the history book "kokon chomonjuu" 古今著聞集 from the Kamakura Period there is a story that he once won against the strong sumo wrestler Nagai 長居.

The circumstances why Basho picked him for his hokku is not quite clear.

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

Hatakeyama Shigetada (畠山 重忠, 1164–1205)
was a samurai who fought in the Genpei War, in Japan. Originally fighting for the Taira clan, he switched sides for the battle of Dan-no-ura, and ended the war on the winning side.

woodblock by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Following the war, when his son Shigeyasu was killed by Hōjō Tokimasa, Shigetada spoke up. The reward for this temerity was death, along with the rest of his family. His brave attempt to defend his honor, along with various other acts of strength and skill are recorded in the Heike Monogatari and other chronicles of the period.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. WKD : Wrestling (sumo, sumoo 相撲) .

Kokon Chomonju - Notable Tales Old and New
Tachibana Narisue
- Reference -





Gabi Greve said...

Tsunagi no Ryu つなぎの龍 "the Chained Dragon"
秩父夜祭(神社) Chichibu Shrine
carved by
左甚五郎 Hidari Jingoro


Gabi Greve said...

Hatakeyama Shigetada and the courtesan 夙妻太夫 Asazuma Dayu.
In Tokyo,  Koigakubo, Koi-ga-kubo 恋ヶ窪 "cave of love"
Kokubunji city

Gabi Greve said...

Legends about
Chichibu Kaido 秩父街道 Chichibu Highway
Chichibu Ookan 秩父往還 Chichibu Okan