This large number of floats is what makes the Kanuma Autumn Festival stand out from Japan's other festivals.
that come together to participate.
Fourteen of the 27 carved floats in Kanuma were made in the Edo Period using two kinds of wood, painted and unvarnished.
The floats in this festival depict a moving version of Yomeimon, a famous gate at Nikko-Toshogu.
The floats are covered all over with carvings.
Japan’s sense of beauty gave birth to these elegant floats.
The people of Kanuma are proud of their 27 floats, which are significant for their numbers even when considered nationally.
The floats are operated by Imamiya Shrine worshippers.
Hayashi, small musical groups or bands, ride and perform on the floats.
The foats belong to certain towns within Kanuma.
The pride in the bands, the skill required in moving the floats, the carvings displayed on the floats,
and the competition among the bands from different towns all help to liven up the festival.
It’s not only the worshippers and bands which lend support to this Edo Period festival.
Excellent float skills handed down by Kanuma's citizens' ancestors also contribute to the festival.
Since the carved floats were made during the Edo Period,
they have been repaired over and over again resulting in the way they appear today.
Those highly skilled repairs account for Kanuma’s pride in its craftsmen.
Using a chisel, he carves out a pattern in the copper plating little by little. The craftsman presses and burns gold leaf onto the float fittings three times.
Minerals are crushed up and used as pigments for painting the float carvings. Gold leaf provides the gold color. Japanese traditional skills are alive.
Wood from horse chestnut, ginkgo, willow and other trees are used for the carvings. With the complete design existing only in his mind, the carver wields his chisel.
Mostly cypress is used in the body. In contrast to a stationary building, the float structure is designed to accommodate shaking.
The center part or hub of the wheel is made from zelkova wood but oak is sometimes used. Nails are not used to make the wheels even though they have to support a one- to two-ton body.