Hino Shinsengumi Festival
About the Hino Shinsengumi Festival
Samurai fans from near and far gather in Hino City each May for a trip through time back to Bakumatsu Japan, the era when Japan’s last samurai, the Shinsengumi, protected the people of Kyoto. While the group’s activities in Kyoto often lead them to be associated with the old capital, their hometown is actually right here in Hino! Many of the Shinsengumi’s most renowned members learned the way of the sword here some 150 years ago, including Hijikata Toshizo, the force’s fearsome vice commander. The two-day Hino Shinsengumi Festival celebrates the Shinsengumi’s Tokyo roots with a Shinsengumi look-alike contest and massive parade of several hundred participants clad in period attire.
Information about the 2019 Hino Shinsengumi Festival
Time and Place
Saturday, May 11, 2019 (Shinsengumi Contest)
Sunday, May 12, 2019 (Shinsengumi Parade)
Around 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (Exact times are subject to change)
- Around Takahata Fudo (Takahatafudo Station) and the Koshu Kaido (JR Hino Station)
- Takahata Fudo Area
- Takahatafudo Station (Keio Line, Tama Monorail, and bus from Hino Station)
- Koshu Kaido Area
- Hino Station (JR Chuo Line and bus from Takahatafudo Station)
- Koshu Kaido Station (Tama Monorail)
Saturday, May 11 Events (2019)
- Shinsengumi Contest
- Inside the pagoda at Takahata Fudo-son
Shinsengumi fans compete in a Shinsengumi look-alike contest for the chance to portray beloved Shinsengumi leaders in Sunday’s parade.
Sunday, May 12 Events (2019)
Takahata Fudo Area
- Parade Opening Ceremony
- Takahata Fudo-son Grounds
- Shinsengumi Performances
- Along the main streets around Takahatafudo Station
Koshu Kaido Area
- Along Koshu Kaido Road
- Opening Parade
- Shinsengumi Parade
- Shinsengumi Performances
- At Yasaka Shrine
- Ceremonial sword sparring
- Sword performance by the Japan Toudou Renmei
- Tennen Rishin Ryu sword arts demonstration by Hino Dojo
- Hino Dai-ichi Elementary School Grounds
- Toy sword-fighting game
- Stage performances
Hijikata Toshizo 150th Anniversary Events
As the 150th anniversary of Hijikata Toshizo’s final battle in Hakodate, the theme of the 2019 Hino Shinsengumi Festival is “Hijikata Toshizo returns home to Hino.” As Hijikata’s hometown, Hino has a variety of special events lined up in commemoration of the locally born hero.
Ichimura Tetsunosuke role to be played by a local teen:
This year, Hijikata Toshizo’s young attendant, Ichimura Tetsunosuke, will be portrayed by a local middle school student and play a special part in the Shinsengumi Parade.
Matsudaira Katamori to be reenacted by his ancestor, Matsudaira Morihisa:
During the Edo period, the Shinsengumi served as defenders of Kyoto under the supervision of Matsudaira Katamori, feudal lord of the Aizu domain. This year, Matsudaira Morihisa will be joining the Shinsengumi Parade dressed as his ancestor, Lord Katamori.
Byakkotai Force to be represented in the Shinsengumi Parade:
The Byakkotai force was a group of young swordsmen who defended the Aizu domain at the same time the Shinsengumi were active in Kyoto. This year, local middle school students will portray Aizu’s Byakkotai in the parade as Lord Katamori’s escort.
Hijikata Toshizo actor to carry Izuminokami Kanesada replica in Shinsengumi Parade:
The person chosen in the Shinsengumi Contest to act as Hijikata Toshizo in Sunday’s parade will carry a newly crafted replica of Hijikata Toshizo’s beloved katana, Izuminokami Kanesada. The replica is based on the real sword kept at the Hijikata Toshizo Museum in Hino, and its use in the parade will be a new Hino Shinsengumi Festival tradition.
Hijikata Toshizo returns home to Hino:
In memory of Hijikata Toshizo, who passed away exactly 150 years ago in far-away Hakodate, this year’s Hijikata actor will lead his Shinsengumi troops “home” to Hijikata’s childhood home in Hino. There, he will lay down his sword (Izuminokami Kanesada replica), which will be kept there until next year’s Hino Shinsengumi Festival.
Tips for English Speakers
Performances at the Shinsengumi Contest will be held in Japanese. The Shinsengumi Parade can be viewed without understanding Japanese, but basic Japanese skills may help if you wish to purchase food or souvenirs at the event.