On October 9th, I went to Sawara, which is located northeast of Narita city. It's in a rural part of Chiba prefecture and is home to plenty of incredibly old buildings. We went here to experience an autumn festival and it was a completely different experience for me.
Prior to this, I have never really attended any kind of festival before, at least that I can remember and I had, for years, watched festivals in anime and wanted to experience them. Normally, most festivals occur in the summer, which we unfortunately missed due to when our semester started. However, being able to even attend one during my study abroad experience made me feel like I completed some major bucket list event.
At this festival, there were huge floats being carried around by men and women, who would often stop in different places along certain roads to dance and pray. The strongest members would hold the wooden beams that kept the floats in place and also carried the back end. I was surprised by how strong some people were because the floats did not just carry artwork, they also carried people who were playing instruments and others who danced at the top of the floats.
So what exactly was the festival for and what were on the floats? This festival, which is well-known, celebrates mythological Japanese warriors and heroes. Each float is home to a giant doll replica of these warriors and heroes, each kept in pristine condition.The festival occurs twice every year, once in July and once in October. It is considered to be one of the greatest float festivals in the Kanto region.
This event is attended by all kinds of people and even children are able to participate in pulling the floats, as well as dancing. It was fun to watch the little kids do their best at pulling the floats and be a part of the event. There were also plenty of street stalls everywhere, selling all kinds of goods and treats. One of the treats I got was a chocolate covered banana and some yakisoba. I also bought a few other things, such as a cute cat plush with a hammer of sorts. It was difficult to not spend money.
Aside from the festival activities, we also went on a tour of different old buildings and important historical landmarks. My favorite was seeing the refurbished hotels of sorts, which also cost a ton of money to stay for one night.
If you're ever in the area around these times, I highly recommend going as it's a different kind of experience and takes you away from the bustling city life of Tokyo and into a more rural quiet region that otherwise would probably be unexplored.
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My name is Ana and I am enamored by different cultures. Growing up with a mother whose family lived in Paraguay meant constant exposure to something that was so different and yet, so intriguing. I knew from a young age that I wanted to explore all that the world had to offer. My dream is to work in international marketing and be able to travel the world while learning new languages, traditions, and making lifelong friends.