The magic word here is samurai. And World Heritage Site. Experience the grandeur of the Shōgun’s army in the grounds of the vast and gorgeous Tōshōgū Shrine. The Shuki Taisai Grand Autumn Festival is the fall counterpart of the Shuki Reitaisai Grand Spring Festival. Like it, this festival features a grand procession of 1000 men dressed as Edo-era footsoldiers, cavalry, and archers: a hyakumono-zoroe sennin gyoretsu, or Parade of 1000 Samurai Warriors, for the history geeks among us. The parade is believed to be a commemoration of the funeral procession for the mighty Ieyasu Tokogawa, the first Tokugawa Shōgun, to whom the Tōshōgū Shrine is dedicated.
The festival begins with a demonstration of yabusame, traditional Japanese horseback archery, on October 16. The grand samurai procession is on the 17th, when nearly 800 samurai follow a portable mikoshi shrine from the Futarasan-jinja Shrine to Otabisho, one kilometer away. To get a good view of the procession, stand alongside the Omotesandō route, which is the main approach to the Tōshōgū Shrine. And get there early — the crowd gets deep. Refreshments are available, and a donation of ¥100 is advised. Exact start times are hard to come by, but the yabusame is usually from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m., and the events of the 17th start at 11 a.m. and continue until 2 p.m.Organizers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.