Who's excited to greet December? If you fear the cold or are sad to leave the beauty of Autumn, then Chichibu has a different way to celebrate the coming of December. The famous Chichibu Night Festival, or Yomatsuri, is something that is not to be missed. If you aren't able to attend in person on December 2nd and 3rd, you can still feel the atmosphere of this spectacular event through the festival hall.
Chichibu Festival Hall was built to help travelers to feel the thrill of the Chichibu Yomatsuri at any time. As you pass the building, you can almost feel the ambience of the festival crowd. The entrance fee is 400 yen. You can learn a lot of information about the Chichibu Night Festival once you enter and start to explore.
There are several sections in this hall. First, the guide will invite you to enjoy a documentary film about Yomatsuri. This section give you an audiovisual experience that rivals the excitement of the real event. Unfortunately, narration is in Japanese language and there are no English subtitles, but still you can enjoy it and witness Yotsuri's hubbub.
The second section is an exhibition of floats. Since Chichibu Night Festival is considered one of Japan's top three for feature floats, this is the highlight of this place. The section shows you two traditional, fascinating floats or Yatai. You will be amazed by how they decorate all of the floats. The Yatai are complete with their ornaments and diorama of locals cheering the floats. One thing that make the Yatai more impressive is the sakura decorations hoisted as high as the floats.
Also, don't missed the collection from former festivals on the second floor. There are a lot of relics and portraits from former festivals. Before you leave the hall, there is also merchandise store. You can find any related stuff about Chichibu's Yomatsuri.
To get here, you can jump on the train from Ikeburuko Station, Tokyo, towards Seibu-Chichibu Station. You will find the limited express (about 90 minutes, 1370 yen, need reservation) and also the express train cover this route (about 100 minutes, 750 yen, no reservation required but you need to change train at Hanno Station). After arriving at Seibu-Chichibu Station, just take a bus heading to Chichibu Station.
So there is no need to worry if you miss the event itself, right? Even if you can't attend the festival, this place is great for learning about the history of the festival and seeking more detail information on the event itself.