My first time at the Kawagoe Festival

I saw my first Kawagoe Festival in 2019. It happens annually on the third Saturday and Sunday of October. After attending it, I realized I should have experienced it far earlier than I did. It was brilliant!

The dashi (street floats) were the main attraction. They differed from the mikoshi I’ve seen many times at the Sanja and Sanno festivals. Those are very small and carried upon the shoulders of bearers. The Kawagoe ones were huge, up to ten meters high, and ornately decorated.  

They looked like mountains on the move from down the street. Huge crews in happi coats pulled them with thick ropes. With entertainers and musicians onboard, it was an enormous spectacle. No wonder huge crowds go.

I was amazed by how the dashi were controlled. When they stopped, the upper superstructure spun around. Spectators could see what was going on onboard. And when they rounded street corners! Crews pulled with the ropes and crossbars to nudge the wheels in the right direction. They made it look easy.

Another reason I was happy to attend this event was I hadn’t been to a single matsuri in 2019. The Kawagoe was my first one. Work had been so busy that year.

If there is one thing you should be careful of with this festival, as with many others, it is very crowded. Keep any young ones you take on a tight leash! Sometimes, a crush can develop with so many people in a small area.

On top of that, the dashi are simple constructions. They lack brakes or other safety devices (so I’ve observed).  It seemed a little dangerous. But, the festival’s crowd control staff did an excellent job keeping them under control.

My first visit to the Kawagoe Festival was delightful. The only disappointment was that the festivities extended into the night. I live quite a distance away, so I couldn’t stay. How about you, have you seen it?

The Kawagoe Festival is a great event, and I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to go again. Please leave your questions and comments below.

What Fujifilm camera gear did I use for the Kawagoe Festival?

Camera Body: X-T2

Lenses: XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

For articles about other festivals in Tokyo, look at:

For more Kawagoe Festival photos, click these external links:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *