Kamakura Carnival Mural – Kamakura, Japan - Atlas Obscura

Kamakura Carnival Mural

This frenetic mural recalls an annual festival that once took the city by storm. 


From 1934 to 1962, Kamakura was known for its summer carnival. It was a huge event launched by a group of local writers and artists, inspired by a carnival that playwright Masao Kume saw in Nice, France.

Though it was put on an eight-year hiatus during and after World War II, the carnival grew bigger and bigger each year. It took the city by storm when it returned in 1948, joined by popular manga artist Ryūichi Yokoyama, and drew in a crowd of over 200,000 people by the next year. The big parade marched down Wakamiya Avenue, followed by a beauty pageant, a legion of clowns, martians, and more.

By the 1960s, however, the Kamakura Carnival had trouble finding sponsors and traffic had taken over due to the boom in automobile ownership. The last of the carnivals took place in 1962, before the city’s annual tradition was forgotten in time.

In 1989, Ryūichi Yokoyama created a mural dedicated to the lost Kamakura Carnival, depicting its big parade in a frenetic, cartoonish explosion of colors. It was installed in the short but busy underpass connecting Kamakura Station with the Komachi-dōri shopping street, an often-overlooked legacy of the fond memories of the city’s modern history.

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May 6, 2024

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