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Santa Comes from the River

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When: December 23-25, 18:00-20:00.
Where: The Shinmachi River in Tokushima City.

Does your idea of a good time involve people dressed in Santa suits throwing presents from a moving boat to catch rugby-like while diving through crowds of eager people. Yes? Well, you’re in luck! Every year on the Shinmachi River in down town Tokushima City is the warm and fuzzy Christmas event ‘Santa Comes from the River’. While most Christmassy events tend to capture quaint images of families gathering round the Christmas tree with smiling faces, however, this is  definitely not one of those.

The premise of the event is very simple – Santa arrives on the Shinmachi River to hand out presents to the families and young boys and girls along the riverside as he travels about by boat.  In theory, very touching. In fact, the boats are very, very fast. And what’s more, they’re a little ways out from the edge of water due to the embankments and the shallow water. What this means for the audience is that you need to keep a quick pace along the water’s edge, and have a good catch as well when the presents start flying! Some of them even fall short and land back in the river to be collected by a boat following up at the rear.

The santas aboard their boat, making a loop around the centre of Tokushima City to deliver presents.

The Santas on their boat as they make a long loop around the centre of Tokushima City to deliver presents.

Santa’s Watery Sleigh
For those of you who have been on the Hyotan-jima River Boat Cruise, the boats may seem very familiar. Indeed, they are one and the same, but dressed up with more lights and razzle dazzle than your average Christmas tree! On board, four Santas clamber about and make their way around the Shinmachi river several times playing carols across the boat’s speakers to make their presence known to all about.

Presents for Everyone
The presents themselves are very handy, and contain a random selection of everyday goods you can use about the house. Overall a total of over 3,000 of them are given out over the three evenings in which santa comes to town.

While it may not be your average Christmas time event, it is a good lot of fun and you can come out with some useful goods as well. Even if you choose not to risk your life in the pursuit of free goodies, it sure does make for a grand sight, so why not get your friends together and come along to take a look!

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2 responses »

  1. Last year I didn’t catch anything. Fathers of unknown kids stood in my way and fight for their life. Maybe I can jostle someone into the river… 😉

  2. Yes, it’s definitely competitive! The event was originally intended for children, but sometimes I think their parents are more into it than they are.

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