Tanabata Chochin Matsuri – Discover the Forest of Red Lanterns in Yamaguchi



Yamaguchi Tanabata Chochin Matsuri is one of Tanabata summer festivals in Japan. It usually takes place in the center of Yamaguchi city on 6th and 7th August every year. This unique festival can boast thousands of traditional red lanterns which create an unforgettable atmosphere. In this article, I`m going to tell you some interesting facts about this matsuri along with the ways how to enjoy it!

What is Tanabata and Chochin?

Tanabata is a traditional festival famous in Japan, China, and some other Asian countries. In Japan, Tanabata is divided into five annual ceremonies called Gosekku. Japanese people especially children celebrate it on the evening of 7th July by putting up bamboo sticks decorated with small paper where they write wishes and other stuff. A beautiful traditional story of Tanabata is the story about a meeting of Orihime and Hikoboshi – Japanese deities. They were hard workers before they got married, but after marriage, they became lazy. God – the father of Orihime got angry with them and separated the couple by the Milky Way. However, they felt so sad and lonely that God allowed them to meet only on the 7th of July in return for their promise of hard work. Therefore, they can meet through the Milky Way and spend time together on this day.

Japanese people celebrate Tanabata on 7th of July usually. However, in the old times, Tanabata was on the 7th of August. So, both in July and August, Japan has some Tanabata festivals.

Chochin (提灯) is a traditional Japanese lantern as you can see on the pictures. The name of the red lanterns is Beni-chochin. To make Chochin, you need to pile thin bamboo rings and put papers or clothes to cover the rings. Traditionally, we put candles inside the chochin and use it at night while walking.

The Features of the Tanabata Chochin Festival

Yamaguchi Tanabata Chochin Festival started about 500 years ago. It was Muromachi Period, and then, one guy put a light inside chochin to pray for his ancestors and this tradition spread around the region. At this festival, you will be able to notice many special features. One is a tunnel which is decorated more than 10 thousands of chochin, and the sight it creates is stunning.

On the road, you will see small chochin trees as tall as people. You can enjoy watching the lanterns on Yamagasa and three Mikoshi. They are decorated with so many chochin that create a breathtaking scene while moving together at the festival. The Yamagata at this festival looks like dashi which is a traditional festival float that pulled or carried during the festival. Mikoshi is similar to dashi, except that the God rides it. At this festival, you can easily appreciate local dance, and music performances and of course try local specialties at festival food stalls.

Details and Access

Dates: August 6th and 7th every year

Place: Yamaguchi central shopping street

Official website (Japanese Only):

Address: Nakaichicho, Yamaguchi-shi, Yamaguchi

Access: Yamaguchi Prefecture is in the West part of Japan, so it is quite far from Tokyo. Yamaguchi has an airport, but it is a little far from the center of the city. I recommend you to take Shinkansen. It has a connection from Tokyo, Osaka and other places.

Try Fugu When You are in Yamaguchi!

Yamaguchi Prefecture is famous for fugu which is pufferfish in Japanese. However, you can eat fugu safely in Yamaguchi. Fugu also called fuku because the sound reminds the Japanese word fuku (福) which means happiness.

Closing Remarks

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and it made you want to attend this beautiful festival. Indeed, if you like a cozy and charming evening atmosphere with lanterns Tanabata Chochin Matsuri is one of the best choices you can make.

If you would like local guides to accompany you at this festival and tell you even more facts about those events, please check the banner below.

All images are courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

Explore Yamaguchi Prefecture With its Rich History and Exciting Festivals!

Yamaguchi prefecture is one of the most beautiful prefectures to visit in Japan. This prefecture is blessed with the ocean and mountains. Also, there are many historical spots to explore in here, as it had been the center of the turning point in Japanese history due to its location. This territory features exciting local festivals and unforgettable scenes of provincial Japan. The following article assembled the best festivals and activities to enjoy in Yamaguchi Prefecture, which will make your trip to Japan even more rewarding!


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, enjoy its mystical atmosphere, and admire a glowing night in Japan, please click on the link below and you will find an article on the 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 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!



Hi, I am Chihiro. I am interested in communicate with people from all over the world. I hope you enjoy my article.

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