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Travel News Gifu Nobunaga Festival

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Last weekend saw the two-day Gifu Nobunaga Festival, with former SMAP member Takuya Kimura playing Nobunaga. Local authorities were on maximum alert Sunday as 460,000 people, more than the city's population, flocked to Gifu to catch a glimpse of the superstar dressed as a warlord astride a horse.


Kimura posed as Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) in the Gifu Nobunaga festival, along with fellow actor Hideaki Ito, both on horseback. Nearly 1 million people applied for spots to view Kimura leading the parade. Loud cheers and applause erupted when Kimura, looking stern and raising his right hand with a folding fan, shouted, "Everyone, time to go into battle." The two actors led the procession for about 1 kilometer along Kinkabashi-dori street in central Gifu. Students from local junior and senior high schools dressed as his subjects in period costume. Kimura acknowledged fans with a wave then they called out his name. Local authorities said 966,555 people applied for spots in the main viewing area after it was announced that Kimura will feature in this year's parade. The figure was about 64 times the number local officials had expected. A woman in her 50s who had traveled from Yamanashi Prefecture with two friends was beside herself after she caught a glimpse of Kimura, even though she did not win the lottery to make it to the viewing area.

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