Shibukawa Bellybutton Festival.


Shibukawa is right in the middle of Japan and thus it has been dubbed the Bellybutton of Japan. We like to celebrate this once a year!

Japan doesn’t really need much of an excuse for a festival. Just about every machi has some sort of mikoshi moving or firework exploding shindiggery to celebrate whatever it is the town is famous for.


In Shibs, we celebrate that scar we often forget in the middle of our abdomens.

The idea is simple. Paint faces on your belly and parade them around in the street…

In your FACE!

They close off the central  intersection in town and line the street with stalls that contain various festival foods and games as well. Its a big party in the streets.

shibukawa festivities

It was particularly entertaining for me because It is essentially in the feeder area for my school so a large proportion of the kids were either my students or my ex students or related to my students (and therefore knew all about the legendary Daruku-sensei) so I couldn’t go more than 3 metres without being stopped and chatted to.

ex students

On the Saturday I was going to join in the parade again like I did last year but after we got ourselves all painted up and fuelled up on the beer boosters, Spartacus killed Theocles and the heavens wept.

the brave gaijin force

While those of us in the parade couldn’t have given two shits in a sand basket, the powers that be saw fit to cancel the parade… BASTARDS!

No worries. We will have another chance next year :D

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