I’ve gone to photograph quite a few of Tokyo’s most famous festivals over the last couple of years, and although they were great, there were times when the huge crowds made them less enjoyable, so this year I decided to go and see some of the more minor ones.
I find that they’re often quite similar to the bigger, more famous ones, just on a slightly smaller scale, and with much smaller crowds. If you want to get decent photos of an event like the Samba Carnival in Asakusa, you really need to get a spot a couple of hours early, but at events like Chiba’s Oyako Sandai Natsu Matsuri, you can pretty much just show up.


In the afternoon, there’s a parade with an awa odori (traditional folk dance), marching bands, and samurai re-enactors.

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Next is a demonstration of acrobatic tricks that Edo Period fire fighters used to signal wind direction and the progress of a fire. (See this post for more information.)

chiba firefighters

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chiba taiko

There’s also taiko drumming.

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And incredibly cheesey enka singers.

There are also mikoshi and a big awa odori dance procession in the evening. The festival is held on the third Sunday in August every year in and around Chiba Koen Park. It’s held from 11:00 to 8:00. To get there, take the JR Sobu Line to Chiba Station. It’s seven minutes’ walk from the station. The festival has a website at: http://www.bikai.org/bukai/matsuri/matsuri_top.html with a schedule and more information.