Bamboo Lanterns at Taketa Taketoro Chikuraku Light Festival in Oita



Taketa Taketoro Chikuraku light festival is held on the third weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) of November every year. The festival started in 2000 with about 3,000 bamboo lanterns. Now there are more than 20,000 bamboo lanterns around the town that are creating a majestic scene for 3 days. Taketa city has the abundance of bamboo recourses such as Matake and Hachiku which were growing here since ancient times and Moussouciku introduced to Japan 350 years ago from China.

Bamboo has been used for building materials, furnishings, miscellaneous goods, etc. since ancient times. It was familiar to Japanese people for various uses. However, in recent years, the demand for bamboo drastically decreased, and the devastation of bamboo forests is accelerating along with it. The city tourism association improved this situation and also planned the light up of the townscape with bamboo lanterns as a part of the tourism development plan. Originally, Taketa city flourished as a castle town of Oka clan and samurai residences.

Even today old temples still exist, and you are able to see them with beautiful bamboo lanterns during this festival. The main venue of the festival – the townscape and the scenery around are especially stunning under the lantern lights. The shake of the bamboo lights will invite a visitor to the world of Japanese aesthetics.

Bamboo Lanterns

Bamboo that is used for the lanterns is based on triplets combined by a certain ratio. They do not use engraving and sticking Japanese paper or plastic tapes to put them together. Also, they use a special candle and do not use any electric decoration. The landscape with the bamboo lanterns in the symbolic areas of the city area is recognized as “Bamboo Raku Hakkei (竹楽八景)”. The area is managed only by the people (‘makeup master’ 化粧師) prescribed by the hundred people in society. These makeup masters decide where to place an extremely simple light – a three-piece bamboo lantern depending on the balance, light, the shadows on buildings, etc. They are spatial artists who apply shade and yang makeup (decoration) with bamboo lantern basket as a motif based on the world of ink painting represented by Takeda of the local area.

In addition to the visual effects of bamboo lanterns, you can also enjoy many concerts everywhere in the area. The venues have been famous for cultural activities since the ancient times. Music that directs the liveliness of the welcoming atmosphere and examination of Japanese musical instruments penetrating into the darkness become a part of the landscape as BGM of Bamboo music. Depending on the location, lavish BGM “silence” is also available.

Best Festival Spots

When you arrive in the area, I recommend getting the map of the light venues to see all the decorations. Here are the some of the best spots!

Juroku Rakan at Kanonji

This spot is famous for the best place to see the bamboo lantern decoration. There are 3,000 lanterns at this location and they utilize the historical stone steps and stone statuses at the temple. Even if it rains, they use rainproof lanterns and still hold the event.

Rentaro Tunnel

This tunnel is dedicated to a pianist and one of the best-known composers of Japan – Rentaro Taki. The tunnel is near Taki Rentaro Memorial hall. When you pass through the tunnel, his famous melodies such as ‘Ko jo no Tsuki’ (Moon in the Ruined Castle) and ‘Hato po po’ will flow automatically with the sound of the music box. There are bamboo lanterns in the tunnel, so you can have a relaxing walk in a cozy lantern light.

Samurai Residence Street (Buke Yashiki Dori)

In the darkness, the light of bamboo lanterns reflecting on a white wall is fantastic. The landscape makes you feel like you time slipped to the old times.

Details and Access

Dates: Third weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) of November every year.
Place: Various places around Taketa city.
Address: Taketa-shi, Oita larger section of a village Takeda
Access: If you are using public transportation to get there, get off at JR Bungo Takeda Station and you can reach all the venues. If you are driving, most of the roads are closed during the festival, so park at the special event parking around the city and get on a shuttle bus to JR Bungo Takeda Station. The shuttle service is 1,000 Yen per person.

Closing Remarks

This bamboo lantern festival is something you won’t see anywhere else! Majestic lights and the historical landscape really take you to a different dimension of the world. At the festival, food stands will be there to enjoy local food, so it is a win-win for all the visitors! Make sure to add this festival to your next trip to Japan!

Discover Oita Prefecture With its Fascinating Festivals and Hot Springs!

Would you like to avoid typical routes when you are in Japan next time? Then Oita prefecture is a perfect destination to see rural Japan, enjoy delicious local food, soak in numerous hot springs and experience the hospitality of local people at unforgettable festivals! The following article will guide you to the best activities you must try when you are in Oita Prefecture!


More Lantern Festivals

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and it made you want to visit this great festival. Lantern festivals in Japan are very popular and you can see it in any season. If you would like to know more about other lantern festivals in Japan, please click on the link below and you will find an article on best 13 lantern festivals in Japan!



Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They are confused about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!



Hi! I am Maggie. I love traveling and telling people about cool things happening in Japan. Hope the article helps with your trip to Japan!

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