Getting to the Festival

All of the main Onbashira events are a reasonable walk from the local train stations. Due to the crowds and traffic regulations, buses and taxis will be of limited use.
For those who want to come by car, parking anywhere reasonably close to the festivities will be pricey and a headache. You’ll be better off leaving your car behind. The exception might be Kamisha’s Yamadashi (see below).
Kamisha Yamadashi (April 2-4)
Kamisha Yamadashi, 2010

Kamisha Yamadashi, 2010

Accessible from Chino station (NOT Kamisuwa!)  The log riding slope is about 1.5 km from the station. Action will be happening along the Yamadashi route above the slope during the time the pillars are in motion. See the map on the bottom of the Kamisha schedule page. for more.
Kamisha’s Yamadashi is the one event where driving could be viable. The long Yamadashi route down to town runs through a rural area  accessible from the Suwa-minami exit of the Chuo Expressway. For folks who don’t mind a bit of a hike and are armed with Google Maps and some creative parking skills,  a handful of shrines and parks not far from the Yamadashi route have facilities that will go largely unused during the festival.
 Shimosha Yamadashi (April 8-10 (for the famous Log Riding))
Shimosha Yamadashi, 2010 (Photo courtesy of Shimin-shinbun)

Shimosha Yamadashi, 2010 (Photo courtesy of Shimin-shinbun)

 From Shimo-suwa Station it’s about a 4 km hike up to the log riding slope where the main action takes place.
See the map on the bottom of the Shimosha schedule page.
Satobiki (bringing the pillars to the shrines)
Pillar sets out from Shimekake, 2010

Pillar sets out from Shimekake, 2010

 May 3-5 for Kamisha and May 14-16 for Shimosha
Satobiki takes place between where Yamadashi left off  in April (Kamisha’s Onbashira-yashiki, and Shimosha’s Shimekake) and the shrines. Action will be happening all along the pillars’ routes throughout the festival. Range widely and explore!
See maps on the bottom of the Shimosha and Kamisha schedule pages for route details. (Satobiki starts where the first blue balloon overlaps the last green balloon from Yamadashi.) Or you can just follow the action!