Route 122, which connects central Tokyo and Iwatsuki, Saitama and is also known as Iwatsuki Road, was once called as Nikko Onari-Michi that literally means Nikko Shogunate Road. During the Edo Period ruled by the Tokugawa Shogunate, the successive shoguns made processions along the road. It was to visit Nikko, where Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first shogun of the shogunate, is enshrined. The procession took place 17 times from 1617 to 1843. Although it was initially frugal, it increasingly became glamorous to show citizens their dignity. The procession held in 1728 by Yoshimune Tokugawa, the eighth shogun, was made up of 133 thousand people consisting of the shogunate family and their retinue. Some of shoguns were not able to cope with the cost of making a procession and had to give it up.
The road passes through my city Kawaguchi, located in just north of Tokyo. There were once two inn towns in the section where now the city is; Kawaguchi Inn Town and Hatogaya Inn Town. The first several processions went along Nikko Road, a more easterly route. However, Iemitsu Tokugawa, the third shogun who was known as a gourmet, changed the route to have his first day's lunch of the four day trip to Nikko, at a temple in Kawaguchi Inn Town. The temple might have served good lunch.
Nikko Onari-Michi Festival was held on an autumn Sunday in Kawaguchi City, to re-enact the historical parade. The festival had two sites; Kawaguchi Inn site and Hatogaya Inn site, and the parade moved the one to the other by subway. It was probably the first shogun's procession in the history which took a train. A few big names, including Ken Matsudaira, a famous period drama actor, and Rino Sashihara, who was once a member of the pop group AKB48 and is now a member of HKT48, also joined the parade and excited the crowd. Although the number of the people making the procession was quite smaller than the ones which took place several hundred years ago, 180 thousand spectators gathered at the sites to see the old but new procession, that was more friendly than before. They did not have to kneel but cheered when the procession passed by.
Shogun's Procession in Kawaguchi, Japan
- Shot in 1080p full HD with an iPhone 4S on Nov. 11th, 2012