Odawara Hojo Godai Festival

Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri: A Spectacular Display of Feudal Era Culture


The Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri is an annual festival held in early May in Odawara, a city located just south of Tokyo. This vibrant festival brings to life the rich history and culture of the samurai era, honoring the warlords of the powerful Hojo clan. The festival features a massive procession of performers dressed in feudal era period costumes, including samurai warriors, ninja, musicians, dancers, and people carrying portable shrines known as mikoshi. The festival attracts both locals and tourists, offering a unique opportunity to experience the traditions and customs of ancient japan.

The Setting: Odawara Castle and the Streets of Odawara

The festival begins at the grounds of Odawara Castle, an elegant fortress that played a significant role during the samurai era. The castle serves as the backdrop for the martial display, adding a touch of historical authenticity to the event. The procession then makes its way through the streets of Odawara, filling the city with an electrifying atmosphere. The streets come alive with the vibrant colors of the performers’ costumes, the sound of traditional music, and the cheers of the crowd. It is a spectacle that transports you back in time, immersing you in the feudal era culture of Japan.

The Performers: Warriors, Ninja, and Musicians

The highlight of the Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri is undoubtedly the diverse range of performers that take part in the procession. The samurai warriors steal the show with their elaborate costumes and fierce expressions. Armed with muskets and swords, they march in perfect formation, showcasing their martial skills and evoking a sense of awe and admiration. The ninja, known for their stealth and agility, add an air of mystery to the festival. Dressed in black, they skulk nearby, ready to surprise and entertain the crowd with their acrobatic stunts and impressive weaponry.

But the performers are not limited to warriors alone. Musicians and dancers also play a crucial role in bringing the festival to life. Traditional instruments such as drums, flutes, and shamisen create a rhythmic backdrop for the procession, adding to the overall ambiance. Dancers adorned in antique kimono perform graceful movements, their colorful garments swaying with each step. The combination of music, dance, and martial arts creates a captivating spectacle that mesmerizes spectators of all ages.

Portable Shrines and Festival Fare

Another highlight of the festival is the presence of portable shrines known as mikoshi. These beautifully decorated structures are carried by groups of people, who shoulder the weight of tradition and spirituality as they parade through the streets. The mikoshi symbolize the connection between the divine and the human, and their presence adds a spiritual element to the festivities.

In addition to the cultural and historical displays, the Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri also offers a wide array of festival fare. Food stalls line the streets, offering a variety of mouthwatering dishes such as fried noodles and takoyaki. These delectable treats add to the vibrant atmosphere, as festival-goers indulge in culinary delights while immersing themselves in the festivities.

How to Get There: Easy Access from Tokyo

Odawara is easily accessible from Tokyo via the JR Tokaido Main Line. Whether you choose to travel by shinkansen or a regular train, the journey takes between 30 minutes and an hour and a half. Upon arrival at Odawara Station, the festival venue is just a short walk away. It is advisable to arrive early to explore Odawara Castle before the festivities begin, as it offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s rich history.


The Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri is a must-see event for anyone interested in Japanese history and culture. The festival provides a unique opportunity to witness the traditions and customs of the samurai era come to life. From the majestic warriors to the mysterious ninja and the vibrant music and dance performances, every aspect of the festival is designed to transport you back in time. The procession through the streets of Odawara creates an electrifying atmosphere, with the crowd cheering and applauding as the performers showcase their skills and talents.

If you are planning a trip to Japan in early May, make sure to include the Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri in your itinerary. It is an experience like no other, offering a glimpse into a bygone era and immersing you in the rich cultural heritage of Japan. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness this spectacular display of feudal era culture and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Address And Maps Location:

6-1 Jonai, Odawara-shi, Kanagawa-ken

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