Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri

The Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri was held at Odawara Castle in Kanagawa Prefecture on May 2-3, 2009.  The highlight of the festival was a colorful parade of Musha Gyoretsu (warriors’ procession).  Odawara is about 1.5 hours by express train from Tokyo (it was a familiar route to me as I take the same train to my client site in Honatsugi which is about an hour ride).

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Near the castle grounds, you will find a children’s zoo, with monkeys and an elephant.

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During the festival, there were numerous food stalls (as usual) and a flea market, while the parade participants were gathering nearby to get organized, including some taiko drumming (see video).

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The parade was a cultural mixture of old and new.  The first parade was the Ongaku-tai (brass band) with marching bands, cheerleaders, flag and baton twirlers.

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Next was the Musha Gyoretsu (warriors procession) with both old and young, men (boys) and women (girls) participating.

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There were lots of banners and different colorful costumes.

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Old samurai warriors rode in horses.

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Some ladies-in-waiting (not sure, I’m guessing since they are wearing veils) dressed in traditional and colorful costumes also marched in the parade.

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The warriors procession was followed by the Machishu-tai parade of local folk dancers, firemen, …

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… shinto priests and several portable shrines carried jubilantly by local townspeople.

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For more detailed information about Odawara and the Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri, please read Samurai Dave’s two part blog post last year – Part 1 and Part 2.

4 thoughts on “Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri

  1. Hmm, looks like you got to the more interesting of the matsuris. The one in Fuchu supposedly had horseback archery late Tuesday night, but I didn’t go back to watch it, and of course it was raining on Wednesday so I have no idea what would have happened then. And what I saw of the Kanda matsuri wasn’t all that colorful. Mostly people in happi jackets and loincloths carrying mikoshi – no cheerleaders or marching bands.

    As always, great photos. I need a new camera…

  2. Yes, I was also planning to go at night to the Fuchu matsuri to watch the Yabusame (I was interested to see how they do this in the dark), but like you, decided not to go due to the heavy rain.

    It actually was a little more colorful during the parade or procession (Koshin-sai) on Saturday. No cheerleaders or marching bands though.

    The only bad thing about a new camera is you will take a lot of pictures – I think I took over 300 pictures for this event – I was going after quantity instead of quality 🙂 I guess storage is cheap.

  3. Pingback: Year In Review: Festivals « Konnichiwa

  4. Pingback: Photo of the Day: Odawara Parade | Konnichiwa

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