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Published on 06.29.2016
Hino Shinsengumi Festival is the biggest event held in Hino, Tokyo. The festival was first held in 1989 to celebrate the completion of the renovation of a local temple, Takahatafudouson, where the grave of Toshizo Hijikata is located. Toshizo Hijikata was the vice commander of Shinsengumi, a special police force active during the end of the Edo period. Formed in 1864 and active until 1869, Shinsengumi resisted Meiji Restoration, believing that doing so would contribute to a better future for Japan. However, history took a different path, as we all know now, and many of them ended their lives in despair. Their dramatic tale, is remembered to this day by the people of Japan, and they are often portrayed in TV dramas, novels, Manga, etc.
The festival was called “Furusato Hino Festival” in 1989 when it was first organized. In 1999, the festival was re-organized under a different name: “Hino Shinsengumi Festival,” after the name of the memorable police force, whose vice president was in fact from Hino, and now rests in peace in Takahatafudouzon. These days, the festival is held annually on the second weekend in May, the anniversary of Toshizo Hijikata's death. The festival includes a few events. The biggest one being the Shinsengumi parade. Around four hundred people dressed as Shinsengumi members, or in traditional costumes from that period, leave Takahatafudouson temple in the morning and parade in the city, performing battles with swords and dancing, etc. Every February, the organizing committee calls for participants of the parade, and so many people participate it from all over Japan. If you wish, you could also apply to participate in the parade! Check for updates on their website in February:
In addition to the parade, food stands, flea markets, and street performances are held in the nearby park Hino Chuou-kouen, dropping by the festival site and watching the parade and performances is sure to be a good time.
Sightseeing spots around the festival site
Takahatafudouson Kongouji temple
Open hours (for rituals): 5am ~ 4pm
Open hours: 9am ~ 5pm (4:30pm in November and December)
Admission: 300 yen (adult), 100yen (child)