Skip to content

Day trip to Sawara's (佐原)🍁GIANT Float Festival🔆 Eat, drink, dance, & shop!🎉

Photo of Kerry D.
Hosted By
Kerry D.
Day trip to Sawara's (佐原)🍁GIANT Float Festival🔆 Eat, drink, dance, & shop!🎉


Autumn is coming, with cooler weather, so let's leave noisy, crowded Tokyo for an exciting, exotic, tasty, authentic "Above Edo" old-Chiba style Harvest Festival, the "Sawara (佐原) Suwa-jinja Aki-Matsuri"!
(Kids attend for FREE with a parent)
This is the BEST festival I've found during 15 years in the Tokyo-Chiba area!
The Grand festival of Sawara, one of the Kanto area's three major festivals, has a 400 year history in which 14 different, amazingly lifelike handmade figures 4 meters tall are paraded on incredibly ornate festival wagons!
These massive but elegant floats will "dance" at street intersections in an impressive display of superb control, teamwork & muscle power!
(4 wheeled parade carts called "floats" in the USA are "dashi" or "yama" in Japan & are hand-crafted from wood, steel, brocade, bronze, lacquer, shell & gold!)
It's a truly impressive & exciting experience, NOT to be missed!
We had a GREAT meetup here in July until sundown, but this time, we can stay into the evening if you'ld like to enjoy the spectacular lamps, wild music, ecstatic dancing, feasting & canal-side parade of illuminated floats!?

Do you know an old city, “Sawara” (佐原) an old & wealthy merchant town in Chiba-ken?

The main attraction of the Autumn festival (AKA: Shinjuku Suwa Shrine Festival) is a parade of 14 beautiful hand-crafted carts bearing giant figures of historical & mythological characters which are pushed, pulled or levered along the streets & canal-side lanes of Sawara.
The city flourished due to boats carrying people & cargo on its many canals, and is designated as Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings (重要伝統的建造物群保存地区 Jūyō Dentōteki Kenzōbutsu-gun Hozon-chiku).
These boats brought Edo culture & fads to Sawara. Since people could enjoy the real thing at home without traveling to Edo, Sawara was thought to be "Edo masari", or “better-than-Edo.”
Just 90 minutes from Tokyo Station by Rapid train, you can enjoy lots of beautiful country scenery on your way there!
Traces of this history remain along the Ono river & Katori street. Approximately 42 homes & shops are open to the public as a city-wide museum.

Enjoy the glorious festival carts, the colors, the drums, the songs, the flutes, the dances, the food, the drinks, the sweets, the unusual shops, the history & more! (OMG, the SHOPPING!)
Sawara's festivals are not to be missed. They're more enjoyable than some festivals which are now overcrowded, smoky & risky. (Like the Kawagoe festival which has become quite difficult)
Sawara is often called a "Little Edo" due to the fine condition of many beautiful old timber & tile shops & fireproof storehouses, known as "kura" which stand beside a beautiful willow-lined stone canal in which the Ono River flows through the center of town & beneath several picturesque bridges.
Sawara's Katori-jinja is an important Shinto shrine. The town is famed as the home of Inoh Tadataka, the genius who created Japan's first accurate modern map, completed in 1821!
We may visit The Ino Tadataka Home Museum in Sawara during our tour: URL:
The Dashi Museum, or "Sawara Floats Hall" is located next to Yasaka shrine. URL:
NOTE: The Sawara festival is free, but we work hard to research & prepare interesting tours for you. Please give generously, so we can continue introducing you to more experiences & events!
(Suggested: ¥2000-¥3000)
Option #1: Meet us at JR Ichikawa station, (just 15 minutes East of JR Akihabara on the Chuo-Sobu Line. We'll meet BETWEEN 10:00 & 10:20 & ride with our happy crew by train to old Sawara!
(PLEASE be EARLY for this connection!)
The Sobu/Narita Rapid Train for Narita leaves JR Ichikawa station from Platform #4 at EXACTLY: 10:27. Our train will arrive at JR Sawara station at 12:12pm. Meet toward the front, onboard this train if you'd like, we'll transfer to the Choshi lane for Sawara at JR Narita station!
Option #2: Travel on your own to Sawara by train, car or highway bus & meet us near the South-Side Bus Stop of JR Sawara Station between 12:15 and 12:30. We'll leave on foot from JR Sawara station at 12:35!
*(See Highway, Bus & other information at the bottom of this page)
If you come late, do a "no-show" or cancel after the stated deadline, this makes life harder for the other members & organizers too, so please be kind to all!
Wear comfortable shoes. An umbrella is often handy in Japan!

Thanks! ~ Kerry D. 🌞

COVID-19 safety measures
We'll be outside for the festival, but please wear your masks on the train, in the museum & elsewhere because we're still at risk for transmissible diseases!🙏🏻
The event host is instituting the above safety measures for this event. Meetup is not responsible for ensuring, and will not independently verify, that these precautions are followed.
Photo of Japanize (Japanese Culture Experience) group
Japanize (Japanese Culture Experience)
See more events
Respond by
Saturday, October 14, 2023
1:00 AM
1-chōme-1-1 Ichikawa · Chiba
14 spots left