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Lakeland University Japan News

LUJ Students Visit the Setagaya Boro-ichi Festival

LUJ Students Visit the Setagaya Boro-ichi Festival


LUJ Students Visit the Setagaya Boro-ichi Festival

On Monday, January 15, a group of LUJ students braved the cold weather and took in the historic Boro-ichi Festival in Setagaya. 

The festival has a long 446-year history, starting in 1578 when Lord Ujimasa Hojo put forth the request to assemble a "tax-free market." The market's popularity ebbed and flowed over time, especially during the Edo Period. However, starting after the Meiji Restoration, the market started its current tradition of being held over two days in both December and January. It's estimated that around 200,000 people frequent the nearly 700 stalls that lined the streets in Setagaya. 

The festival "had a variety of items/stalls for all ages to enjoy," said Min, an LUJ student. 

Another student, Lee, compared what they saw to past experiences, saying it was "interesting to see a traditional street market vs street festival." Lee added that he was able to see a lot of "food that I don't normally see."

For just about all the students, the trip to Setagaya was positive. Juvanie, another LUJ student who traveled by train to the festival, said "the Boroichi trip was fantastic, and the street vendors were selling a variety of unique affordable foods, plants/flowers, collectible items and more."

Still, this was January, which meant winter temperatures. For LUJ student Charles, braving the chill and the endless line of stalls was worth it. "It was quite cold at the Boroichi festival!" Charles admitted. "However, it was a good opportunity for me to meet some of the other new LUJ students. There were so many stalls that it was overwhelming. I tried some of the food options but I was mostly interested in the handcrafted decorations at the festival. There were all kinds of wooden animals, leather bags, and handmade tools. I’m sure it’s a great opportunity for the local craftsmen to sell their products." 

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