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).
Near the castle grounds, you will find a children’s zoo, with monkeys and an elephant.
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).
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.
Next was the Musha Gyoretsu (warriors procession) with both old and young, men (boys) and women (girls) participating.
There were lots of banners and different colorful costumes.
Old samurai warriors rode in horses.
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.
The warriors procession was followed by the Machishu-tai parade of local folk dancers, firemen, …
… shinto priests and several portable shrines carried jubilantly by local townspeople.