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Nagasaki Lantern Festival

February 12, 2008

Every year, the city of Nagasaki celebrates the Chinese New Year with a spectacular array of bright and colourful lanterns. The Lantern Festival began this year on February 7 and continues until the 21st.

Nagasaki, which for a couple of hundred years of the Tokugawa shogunate was one of the few entry points for trade in an otherwise ‘closed’ Japan (under the sakoku laws), shows its foreign influences all over, no more so than in its sizeable Chinatown, and the crowds throng around here, Chuo-Koen and Minato-Koen, where the main displays are.

And when I say crowds, I mean it. To get anywhere and see anything, you have to throw yourself right in there – Ganbaro!

A sea of humanity

With parades, dances and other performing arts displays, there’s plenty to see and do during the daylight hours, but of course the festival really comes into its own after nightfall. The most elaborate displays are at Chuo-Koen –

Nagasaki Lantern Festival

– but the side streets are alive with colour too.

Nagasaki Lantern Festival

As are the stone bridges along the river, the most popular one of which is the famed Meganebashi (‘Spectacles’ bridge – named for the shape of its reflection) –

長崎眼鏡橋 - Nagasaki, 'Spectacles' bridge

More Lantern Festival pix after the jump…!

Nagasaki Lantern Festival
Nagasaki Lantern Festival
Nagasaki Lantern Festival

Full Nagasaki trip photo-set at Flickr.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. remora permalink
    February 13, 2008 9:25 pm

    I agree, there is nothing that can equal the inclusiveness..the “all-join-in” experience of a matsuri..as I have said elsewhere – once my wife parked me with a band of steet musicians while she went off shopping..

    I quite happily marched off behind them in a pied piper manner..in fact she had to tell me to stop.

  2. overoften permalink*
    February 13, 2008 9:44 pm

    Quite so. And I think come February, people are starting to miss that feeling, so a winter matsuri is great. And that fact probably adds to its popularity.

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