Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hojo Godai Matsuri

Every year at the beginning of May, the Hojo Godai Matsuri is held at Odawara Castle. This is a huge festival where hundreds of people walk through the streets of Odawara in a big procession, dressed as samurai. There is also lots of traditional music and dancing.

The festival is held to celebrate the Hojo clan, who from 1495 to 1590 ruled over the eastern part of Japan.

Under their control the town of Odawara thrived tremendously, comparing well with Kyoto in aspects of trade and culture. The Hojo ruled until they were eventually overthrown by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1590, which resulted in the reunification of Japan.

I had a great day and I have to admit the whole thing was very impressive. The costumes were magnificent in their detail and there were also lots of spectacular battle reenactments.

I also got to join in with the festivities by dressing up as a samurai, which you can see

The amusing thing was that once I was dressed up in my samurai costume, lots of Japanese people wanted to have their photo taken with me.

You can see all the photos