Kawagoe Festival History
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The origin of the festival dates back to the first year of the Keian Period (1648) with the promotion of the Chinju-Hikawa Festival by the Kawagoe Castle lord.

‘The Pinnacle of Town Festivals’, this over 360-year-old event preserves the style of the Edo

 Kawagoe Festival (Kawagoe Hikawa Festival Float Event) takes root in the "Reitaisai" festival held at Hikawa Shrine on October 14, and is also consisted of the "Jinkosai" festival and "Float Event (festival)" that are held immediately afterward.

Reitaisai
Reitaisai
Jinkosai
Jinkosai
Float Event
Float Event

 The "Jinkosai" festival started life in 1648, when it was promoted by the reigning Kawagoe clan lord Nobutsuna Matsudaira Izunokami, who offered religious artifacts such as a portable shrine, a lion mask and taiko drums to the Hikawa Shrine. From 1651 onward, extravagant processions passed through the neighborhoods of shrine parishes, and these were soon joined by members of the commercial elite. It is in these rituals and festivals that the Kawagoe Festival takes root.

 In the original "Jinkosai" festival, the portable shrine of Hikawa Shrine was carried through the neighborhoods of shrine parishioners, and was accompanied by adornments of floats including costume parades provided by 10 neighborhoods of shrine parishes
From Kawagoe-hikawa-sairei-emaki (1826)
From Kawagoe-hikawa-sairei-emaki (1826)
Shingashigawa River Boat Transport
Shingashigawa River Boat Transport

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Boat transport on the Shingashigawa River allowed Kawagoe not only to receive the latest fineries and customs that came in from Edo, but also gradually developed the festival.


Unification of the festival floats of the 10 neighborhoods in 1844

Later on, with the advent of festival floats taking the central role in the Edo Festivals, all the festival floats of the 10 neighborhoods were in 1844 unified in a single-column style and dolls were placed on the balustrades, as they are depicted in Hikawa-sairei-egaku (a votive picture scroll).

Hikawa-sairei-egaku (1844)
Hikawa-sairei-egaku (1844)

 The Kawagoe Festival has been passed down in an unbroken line, and in February 2005, as an invaluable town festival that preserves the style and elegance of the Edo Tenka Festival, the ‘Kawagoe Hikawa Festival Float Event’ was designated as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property .

 Under the divine protection of the Grand Hikawa Shrine, the people of Kawagoe that had brought this castle town to prosperity have proudly developed the Kawagoe Festival by using this economic strength both to maintain a history of over 360 years, as well as add its own unique Kawagoe features.