Oiran (花魁) is a word used to refer to the high-class prostitutes that worked in the Yoshiwara red-light district (Yoshiwara-Yukaku) during the Edo period. The Ichiyo Sakura Matsuri started in 2003 to preserve this piece of Edo history. It takes place along a 500m or so stretch of road with members in full Edo period dress slowly making their way to the small main stage for a series of short performances, before parading back down the road again. The fact that they move at a snail’s pace and stop in front of the crowd to pose for photographs makes it a highly entertaining event and a unique chance to see the old Edo costumes.
The procession starts west of the main stage around 13:00 and returns after performances on the main stage around 14:45. It’s a popular event so if you want a spot at the front probably best to get there around midday. In case of rain, the event may be postponed to the following day.