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Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/3 02:48
Hi,

We will be in Japan until the beginning of December. Has anyone been to the Chichibu Yomatsuri festival? I may stay an extra night just to take part if it's big and worth it. Any thoughts or opinions?

Also, I am buying a JR pass but it will be expired by the time I get there (I have a one week pass I am using when I am in Osaka for 4 nights and then 2 nights in Hiroshima). Is the bullet train the only way to get to Chichibu Yomatsuri? It says it's 90 mins away from Tokyo. Would it be very expensive to buy the ticket outright?
by Flonie (guest)  

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/3 11:28
Hi, I am also planning on going to the Chichibu festival this year. I read that it is one of the three biggest festivals in Japan, so I think it would definitely be worth it! You can't use a JR Pass to go there, as JR lines don't run all the way to Chichibu. Looking on Hyperdia (hyperdia.com/en), it is faster to travel by Seibu Railways than shinkansen, and cheaper too - 1790 yen one-way with a reserved seat. If you had the JR Pass, you could take the shinkansen and just pay the Chichibu Railways fare of 860 yen for the final part of the journey. Travel time is around 100 minutes, but it will depend where you ar coming from in Toyko (Seibu trains leave from Ikebukuro).
by sq (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/3 11:55
It is going to be the last night I am in Japan, so I am worried I won't get back to the hotel until very late (I think I read somewhere that the last train leaves at 11:30, so if it's 100 mins to get back) I won't be back until 2am...kind of hard when I have to check out of the hotel by 11am the next day.

Have you spoken to anyone that has actually gone to this festival?
by Flonie (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/3 11:57
No, unfortunately I know very few people who have travelled to Japan. But you wouldn't have the stay for the whole festival; you could leave early (and the trains would be less crowded then). The fireworks start at 7.30pm and I believe they end around 10; you could leave before they end.
by sq (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/4 04:12
Wow, fireworks start from 7:30 - 10pm? That's a very long time!
by flonie (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/4 10:25
I know! Read here: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6552.html

2.5 hours of fireworks! I'm pretty sure I'll get bored, so I was planning to leave early and get a less crowded train back to Tokyo, and get enough sleep for my next day's sightseeing.
by sq (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/4 22:35
I went there last year, highly recommended! I didn't stay overnight however as I had a flight from Haneda early the next morning. I also don't think there actually will be a lot of accommodation in such a small town, and probably everything there is will be booked months ahead.

Considering the huge number of people I didn't wait for the last train, but one train before was still extremely crowded. And because I took that earlier train, I did miss most of the spectacular finale of the fireworks.

It isn't all about the fireworks however, the parade with the floats was also pretty impressive ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjP9IlmIqZU&list=PLty_ATfsh2Zy0XLE4NGW... ). Although there's some fireworks during the parade, it really gets going after that. And of course there are lots of yatai, most of them close to the Seibu-Chichibu station. To me everything was a bit of a gamble, as hardly anyone spoke any English, not even at the tourist information or the information stand from the festival organization, and I only understand very, very little Japanese. But just follow the crowds, and you'll be fine.

One thing to be aware of: because of it's location in the mountains, Chichibu is quite a bit colder than Tokyo. Last year while it was still a rather pleasant 15 degrees centigrade in Tokyo, it was near freezing in Chichibu.
by WizardOfOss rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/5 11:47
Thanks for the info! I had read it was quite a bit colder. Did you have any trouble finding a place to watch the parade from? I was thinking of getting there sometime in the mid-afternoon, but wasn't sure if it would be necessary.
by sq (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/5 15:02
We went for the festival in Chichibu too! It was great especially the food. We did not stay at one spot for the parade, just walk along the endless streets for the yummy food. You will see some stalls selling repeated stuff but just walk further, there is always someting new and interesting.

We went to Nagatoro first then arriving at Chichibu a bit late but it was ok for us. We did not stayed till the last train, left earlier to beat the crowd.

You can take a look at some of our pix here:
http://mylovesntots.blogspot.sg/2013/12/tokyo-2013-day-2.html
by Apple76 rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/5 20:05
For most of the time during the parade, I've been standing here: http://goo.gl/maps/IFI7O

I arrived at Chichibu late in the afternoon, which left me enough time to have a look around, get something to eat and drink, and find myself a good spot for the parade. It wasn't too hard to find one, it only got really crowded once the parade had already started.
by WizardOfOss rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/6 04:21
Thanks for your input. It sounds like in order to secure a good spot, we have to spend an entire or halfday there...

I know this is a somewhat small traditional town...what are the washroom facilities like? Is it mostly squat toilets???

Also, how much was the train getting and going back? I'm debating whether I should go because I am leaving in the late afternoon the next day.

Thanks
by flonie (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/6 07:17
It sounds like in order to secure a good spot, we have to spend an entire or halfday there...
Oh no, not at all. Looking back at my pictures I must have arrived at Chichibu around 16:30, and I've been walking around (and eating...) until around 18:30 before finding myself a good spot.

About the washrooms, I only used those near the Seibu railway station, the one closest to the station were indeed squat toilets, but a bit further past the shops was a second one with some western toilets.
by WizardOfOss rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/7 14:12
Do the restaurants typically have squat toilets?

I know over here, when there is a festival of any kind. Lineups for the washroom are terrible, is that the same over there? Are there actual public washrooms?

Were you able to effectively communicate with locals in english or do you have to know some japanese in order to get by?
by flonie (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/7 20:33
Sorry, I haven't been to any restaurant, so I can't tell. There was indeed a line for the public washrooms at the station, but it wasn't too bad. At least not at the men's room.

Communication was difficult as ever, but at the tourist information they just drew the parade route on a map, and since it's all near the railway station it's all easy to find. I did have a talk with some locals along the route who spoke a little English, as there are only very few foreigners you do stand out quite a bit. Nevertheless at such moments I just wish I would speak Japanese better.
by WizardOfOss rate this post as useful

Re: Chichibu Yomatsuri 2014/10/7 23:53
If you are just buying things/food, it will be fine as almost everything is labeled with price tags, so just pay accordingly
by Apple76 rate this post as useful

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