Nagasaki Chugoku Bon Festival – A Mystical Chinese Bon Festival



Nagasaki Chinese Bon Festival is a different style summer festival. It is not based on Japanese culture or religion but Chinese. This is the festival that you can immerse yourself in Chinese culture and religion despite if you’re in Japan. Why not peeking into this festival? It is like killing two birds with one stone type of thing, right? You can experience Chinese culture and religion while you are in Japan. Let’s take a look at this Festival.

About Sofuku-Ji (Sofuku Temple)

Soofuku-Ji is the oldest Chinese style of the temple that exists in Japan. It locates in Nagasaki city. There are two buildings, which are designated as a national treasure at the site of the temple. They are Daiippo Gate and Great Leader’s Hall. Soufuku-Ji is one of Nagasaki Sanfuku-Ji. The other Sanfuku-Ji are Kofuku-Ji and Fukusai-Ji. Each temple has its unique features. You may take a look at each of them if you are interested. Including Sofuku-Ji, they all originate from China. Kofuku-Ji was built in 1629 by Chinese residents from Fujian province, and most of them were engaged in trading business back then. During Chinese Bon Festival, there are Chinese people from all over Japan coming to participate every year.

What is Chinese Bon Festival?

Chugoku Bone Festival is a summer festival for Chinese people. This festival used to be a joint festival with Kofuku-Ji and Fukusai-Ji at Chinese settlement in Nagasaki. But nowadays it takes place only at Sofuku-Ji. This event is a three days event, which starts on July 26th according to the old calendar. Officially this festival is called Bouru Ura Bonshoe because services are conducted both for related and unrelated death at this festival. In short, this festival is for everyone who passed away. During the Japanese Obon Festival, people only pray for the related dead, mainly family members who passed away. So, you can notice that this festival is different from the Japanese style Obon.

Festival Breakdown

As I mentioned before, this festival goes on for three days. On the first day, you will see monks reading sutras out for reposing the souls of Buddha and other saints. On the second day, those monks will call for death and floating spirits with sutra. You will see the fire from burning offerings such as Kinzan, Ginzan, and Kinuyama to send back spirits from all over the world in peace on the third day. This is the highlight of this festival. Kinzan and Ginzan represent money. And Kinuyama represents clothing. There will be red lanterns surrounding the temple, and you will hear Tojin-gun firing, rings and drums ringing behind the ceremony. The atmosphere of this festival is solemn through all three days. You will be astonished how holy this festival is.

What Else Can You Do During the Festival

Shofukuj-Ji locates on a vast ground. There are several historical buildings there. You can walk around the ground and see other buildings and statues. Nagasaki has its own food culture which is different from the main island of Japan. If you are a noodle lover, you must try Nagasaki Champon. It is a famous local noodle dish that you can only eat in Nagasaki (I mean a real one.) If you want to know more about Chinese and Nagasaki relationship, walking to Kofukuji and Fukusaji would be an option. You will see the difference between those three Sanfuku-Ji and get to know more about Chinese culture and religion by exploring the temples. You can also go to China town in Nagasaki city and try traditional Chinese food there. Hope you do not get confused if you are in Japan or China at the end of your day.

Access and Details

Dates: September 5th and 7th in 2018. Usually is held in the first part of September according to the lunar calendar.
Venue: Sofuku-Ji (Sofuku Temple)
Address: 7-5 Kajiyamachi, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki-ken
By Tram
12 minutes ride from Nagasaki station. Get off at Shofuku-Ji Shita
By bus
10 minutes ride from Nagasaki Station East exit. Get off at Shofuku-Ji Entrance

Closing Remarks

Nagasaki Chinese Bon Festival is a mystical Chinese style Obon Festival. This festival is rather solemn compared to the Japanese style of Obon Festival. Nagasaki is one of the exciting cities to visit for its unique culture. Nagasaki had always been an open door to the foreign countries like China or Portugal. That is why you can explore foreign cultures in Nagasaki despite being in Japan. There are many more things to see other than this festival in Nagasaki. If you want to find out more about this festival and the city, get to know locals before your trip will make your journey more rewarding. Click on Huber. banner and connect with locals before your trip!

Did You Know That There is a Festival Every Day Somewhere in Japan?

Japan is a country of festivals indeed. Matsuri is an essential part of traditional Japanese culture. Thus, every day somewhere in Japan a festival takes place. There are traditional and modern festivals, on the sea and on the ground, in summer and winter. Japanese are hardworking people. However, when you attend at least one festival in Japan, you will understand how locals like to party. The article under the link below will introduce you to a celebration on any day of the year. I am sure you will find an event that suits your interests utmost!


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 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!


Don’t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!



Yogi and Snowboarder. Love to explore nature and to meet new people. Currently, residing in the Kansai area in Japan.

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