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Hidden Wonders | Festival in Chichibu Welcomes Spring with Magnificent Floats

The people of Chichibu celebrated the arrival of spring with a lively parade of floats and spirited calls of "Horyai!" (treasure is coming).



"Wakagyo" performers on a magnificent Kasaboko float on March 10, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture. (©Ryuichi Masabayashi)

On March 10, the annual Yamada Spring Festival hosted by the Tsunemochi Shrine in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, heralded the arrival of the season. The streets buzzed with excitement as crowds gathered to witness the grand procession of floats.

Locals proudly paraded three floats, recognized as the city's tangible folk cultural properties. According to the city's education board, the Kasaboko float towers at 6.4 meters (21 feet) in height. It has an umbrella-like structure adorned with around 4,000 washi-paper flower decorations. The other two floats, standing at 4.8 meters (15.7 feet) tall, showcased sculptural designs.

'Treasure Is Coming'

The morning procession spanned approximately 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles). This was followed by a longer route of 6 kilometers (4 miles) in the afternoon, winding through the streets of the Yamada district. 

The Yamada Spring Festival is renowned as the first event of the year featuring floats in the Chichibu region.

(©Sankei by Ryuichi Masabayashi)

Adding to the festival's charm were the four "wakagyo" performers standing on the Kasaboko float, energetically chanting "Horyai!" while waving Japanese fans. Explaining this tradition, the society dedicated to preserving these floats shared that "Horyai" means "treasure is coming" in the local Chichibu dialect.

A man in his 20s who came to watch from Kyoto exclaimed, "I was amazed at the size of the floats."


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun

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