Goldfish Lantern Festival – Enjoy a Feast of Adorable Lanterns in Yamaguchi
Every year in August Hagi city boasts a great summer celebration that includes Hagi Nihonkai Great Fireworks Festival as an opening event. If you would like to know more about this fascinating event and explore this part of Japan, this article is for you!
Hagi city in Yamaguchi prefecture is known as the birthplace of the Shoukasonjuku Academy. It was here that Yoshida Shoin – one of the most important scholars of military science in the Bakumatsu era (End of the Edo period), influenced young people with his philosophical teaching. One of the most notable people he influenced was Takasugi Shinsaku, the Samurai who contributed most to the Meiji Industrial Restoration.
Hagi Nihonkai daihanabitaikai (Hagi Japan Sea of great fireworks) is the opening night of the “Hagi Summer festival”, the biggest event in Hagi. It runs from August 1st to 3rd and includes not only fireworks but also “Shimin so odori” (citizen’s gathering dance) and the unique tradition of Hagi, “O funa uta” (a sacred ceremonial song that was sung for new ships or for the departure of lords.)
While you are enjoying the fireworks, why don’t you grab some of the typical Matsuri festival food? You can enjoy many types of street food including Yakisoba noodles and Takoyaki, savory fried dough with octopus inside. If it is too hot, you can also try the shaved ice. There are food and drink vendors at Sumiyoshi Jinjya.
On the second day, there are various events such as parades, Taiko drumming performances, and the Shimin so odori dance. Check the schedules at http://www.haginet.ne.jp/users/hagi-cci/natumaturi/matsuri.html
Two things that you do not want to miss out on are the “O funa uta” and the “Mikoshi” on the 3rd of August. During “O funa uta”, several men on a wooden ship eight meters long sing the sacred ceremonial song accompanied by Shamisens (Japanese traditional 3 strings instrument). This song has been sung since 1555, and if you close your eyes when you listen, you may feel as if you have been transported back in time.
Typically, only men are allowed to carry the Mikoshi; this particular Mikoshi weights about 750 kilograms. It is an extremely energetic and exciting atmosphere, and the men shout “Wasshoi, wasshoi” while they carry the Mikoshi. The meaning of this is “Carry a peaceful mind and Japanese spirit with you”. The Mikoshi leaves Sumiyoshi jinjya around 3 pm, and the men carry the Mikoshi around town and make stops at various locations. After several hours, they return it to Sumiyoshi jinjya. Since it’s a very hectic atmosphere, you may not want to get too close to the crowd carrying the Mikoshi, but it is definitely a site worth seeing.
Place: Hagi-shi, Yamaguchi prefecture
August 1st 20:00-21:00 at Port of Hagi
2nd 17:00-23:00 at Tamachi shoutengai and Yoshida-cho
3rd 18:00- 23:00 at Tamachi shoutengai and Yoshida-cho
Address: Horiuchi 2 Ku-3 Horiuchi, Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Access: The fireworks are set off the shores of the port of Hagi and you can expect to see about 7,000 fireworks, including 1,000 star-mines at the end. The best spot to see the fireworks is the Kikugahama beach. It runs from 8:00 pm until 9:00 pm. The beach is a 10-minute walk from JR Higashi Hagi station, and shuttle buses are also available. You can find the information at http://www.haginet.ne.jp/users/hagi-cci/natumaturi/bus.html.
Outside of the festival, there are many things to do in Hagi. You may visit Hagi’s world heritage sites, such as the ruins of Hagi castle and Shouin Jinjya the home of Yoshida Shoin’s influential academy.
In August, Hagi is famous for neon flying squid, which you can eat as sashimi. If you are reluctant to eat it raw, you can also try it cooked tempura style.
Overall, Hagi is one of the best-kept secrets in Japan. The city offers you a unique opportunity to see, experience, learn and eat. It is definitely worth visiting.
All Images are courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article and it made you want to visit the Asia Port Fireworks Festival! However, there are a lot of fireworks festivals and events in summer, as fireworks festivals are one of the traditional events in Japan. Put on your Yukata and getas, meet your friends and enjoy a beautiful night sky lit up with thousands of colorful fireworks!
If you are planning to visit Japan to see fireworks, the following article picked the top 11 best fireworks (or Hanabi) festivals for you!
If you’d like to enjoy the more calm atmosphere with cozy yellow lights instead of crowdy fireworks festivals, lantern festivals are what you should experience. Lantern festivals in Japan are very popular, and you can see it in any season. If you would like to know more about the most popular lantern festivals in Japan, please click on the link below and you will find an article on the best 13 lantern festivals in this unique country!
A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost, they confuse 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!