The Kurayami matsuri (くらやみ祭り Darkness Festival) is claimed to be one of the three oddest festivals in Kanto region. This festival is held every year, between 30 April and 6 May. Originally this festival was described as an utagaki ( 歌垣 courtship song festival).
Ryotaro Shiba, a Japanese essay writer and novelist, observed that this festival resulted in disorderly conduct by the participants He claimed that, amongst the single men and women who had gathered to sing and dance for each other, were also those who were married and who intended to have sex under cover of darkness. In the Meiji Era, facing criticism from Christian missionaries and visiting foreign educators and engineers, the authorities put a stop to this festival.
In its place, Kurayami Matsuri was created. Kurayami means ‘darkness’ and matsuri means ‘festival’ in Japanese. It was originally held during the night, but this was changed to evening in 1959.
On May 4, the road approaching the temple (Keyaki Namiki (ケヤキ並木 Elm Row)) is used as a track for horse-racing and performances of a masked folk dance known as Fuchuu Hayashi (府中囃子). On May 5, six large taiko drums lead eight mikoshi to a temporary holding area. They are returned to the shrine early in the morning the following day.
from インバウンドニュース – 訪日外国人インバウンドニュース速報まとめ http://ift.tt/2oLNDd6