The Soaring Dragons of Chichibu
Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture is a charming, rustic spot not far from Tokyo. It is known for its hundreds of annual festivals. These include the Chichibu Night Festival, as well as one that features rockets. In the Yoshida Ryusei Festival, which takes place in October, locals handcraft rockets that are launched high in the air and release colorful decorations or firework clusters on the way down. We meet the people who are passing down this special tradition.

Yoshida Ryusei Festival

This festival, which is a kind of prayer for a rich harvest and good fortune, has continued for more than 400 years. The residents of Yoshida spend about three months building the rockets, which are made from hollowed out cedar bound by bamboo strips. 27 districts show off their spectacular rockets.

Chichibu Meisen

Meisen is a traditional silk fabric produced in Chichibu, known for its rich sheen. The people who pull the Chichibu Night Festival floats wear kimono made from this fabric.


Chichibu is just 80 minutes away by express train from Tokyo's Ikebukuro Station. The Yoshida area can be reached by local bus or taxi.