One of Hakone’s most popular and famous events, the Daimyo Gyoretsu, takes place on November 3rd. The procession makes its way around the streets of Hakone Yumoto. This is a chance to see geisha, see historical re-enactments, and get a feel for the culture of the area.
The Daimyo Gyoretsu was a word to describe the elaborate precessions of feudal lords making their way to and from Tokyo. During the reign of the Tokugawa Clan from the early 1600s to the late 1800s fuedal lords were required to spend alternating years in the capital city of Edo, which was later named Tokyo. The Tokugawa government forced them to spend time at the capitol in order to suppress thoughts and ability to rebel against the central government. Keeping the families of distant lords and themselves in Edo encouraged devotion and obedience.
The lords of the time would have made the travel very lavish to display their importance and influence. One way to do this was to have elaborate and decadent procession of servants, samurai, and advisors making their way to Edo. This also forced them to use large amounts of money and this was also a way to keep distant Daimyo from amassing to much wealth that might possibly fund a rebellion.
The Tokaido Road, running through Hakone, was the most important and heavily travelled road of its time. the Tokaido Road connected the imperial and cultural center of Kyoto with the economic and political center of Tokyo. There were many processions making their way through Hakone during the Edo period.
The Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu is on the third of November on a Japanese national holiday. The route runs through the Yumoto area and there are many places to get a good view of the festivities.