Throughout Oita Prefecture, there are various bamboo lantern festivals. These festivals were started, in part, to help maintain the surrounding bamboo forests. Today Oita Prefecture is the largest producer of madake bamboo in Japan! All of the bamboo lanterns are handmade and locally sourced!
Usuki-Takeyoi (うすき竹宵) festival is held in November. This festival focuses on allowing the soul of Princess Hannyahime (般若姫) to visit her parents Manano-chojya (真名野長者) once a year. Preparation for this festival begins in August when the residents of the town begin to cut down the bamboo to be used to make the artful lanterns. Creating the lanterns is truly a community effort, school children, companies, and area clubs all come together to make the event a success year after year.
Sen’nen-Akari 千年あかり, meaning “Light of a Thousand Years,” takes place every autumn in Hita City. The people of Hita hope to “Light up our great past and wishful future for 1000 years!” This festival boasts over 30,000 bamboo lanterns.
The festivities primarily take place along the riverside of the Kagetsu River running through the town of Mameda. Musical performances and other events are held throughout the duration of the festival.
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In the city of Taketa, Oita Prefecture, a Bamboo Lantern Festival is held every 3rd Friday in November. During Taketa Take-tourou Chikuraku (たけた竹灯籠竹楽), the town is lit up by the soft glow of thousands of handcarved, bamboo lanterns.
The festival lasts for three nights. Approximately 20,000 lanterns are used during this festival.
Omizutori is an ancient two-week long festival that occurs at Todaiji Temple in March. This is a truly exciting event that encompasses many rituals, including a fire and water ceremony.
Hinamatsuri is a special occasion in Japan that celebrates girls, wishing for their happiness and health. Have you ever seen one of the signature, grand doll displays? They are an important part of the event, as well as other customs like doll floating and eating special food.