One of Japan’s oldest and most spectacular night festivals (yomatsuri) takes place close to Tokyo in the small town of Chichibu on Dec. 2nd -3rd 2010. The annual Chichibu Yomatsuri features fabulous fireworks, along with traditional Japanese performing arts and an exciting parade that features illuminated floats. The event is widely considered as one of the top three float festivals in the country.
The huge floats are basically used as mobile stages where children can perform Japan’s traditional folk dances and Kabuki dramas. There are plenty of refreshments as you’ll be able to find beer, sake, and numerous types of festival foods. Street musicians and entertainers will also keep the thousands of spectators entertained throughout the event.
The main highlight of the festival is the evening parade. This takes place when about half a dozen enormous floats leave from the grounds of the Chichibu Shrine. They’re decorated with flowers and painted carvings and lit up with coloured lanterns as they weave their way through the town’s streets with fireworks going off in the background.
The floats are about 10 metres high and weigh around 10 tons. They’re pulled by dozens of young men who are dressed in festival costumes. The parade features flute music and wild drumming and the part lasts all night. The fun-filled festival has been going on for over 300 years now and hopes to reach 300 more.