The Nikko Toshogu Grand Spring Festival (Shunki Reitaisai) is a rendering of the funeral procession of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) who founded the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo (Tokyo).
His will stated that he wanted to be laid to rest in Nikko. The procession on the starts near Shinkyo Bridge on the 18th morning of three portable shrines that carry the spirits of Tokugawa Ieyasu and two others to rest at Toshogu Shrine. At the back are shinto priest on horseback and samurai in armor.
Yabusame (Samurai archery on horseback) is on the 17th mid-day. Get there early as there are only a few tickets sold for the seats along Omotesando street.
Every May 18th the Nikko Toshogu Grand Spring Festival is a re-enactment of the procession of Tokugawa Ieyasu occurs at Toshogu Shrine in Sannai, Nikko.
Throughout the day, there are food stalls with all kinds of food and treats; okonomiyaki, yakitori, cream cakes, cotton candy, masks for children, ice cream, etc.