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Tuesday, 17th August 2010
In Events In Japan,

Giant lantern festival to be held in Japan

Visitors to Japan who will be in the country towards the end of August could get a taste of the nation's traditional side at a giant lantern festival.

The Dai-Chochin Matsuri, or Giant Lantern Festival, is due to be held at the Suwa Shrine in Isshiki Aza Miyazoe, Isshiki-cho Oaza, Hazu-gun, in Aichi Prefecture, on August 26th and 27th.

The paper lanterns featured in the event measure more than ten metres by five and are painted with brightly coloured pictures telling Japanese stories.

First held in Japan more than 400 years ago, the lantern event originates from the use of light to ward off "sea demons" from the waters around the area, which allegedly used to come onto land and cause havoc in the local area.

"These kagari-bi were later replaced by chochin lanterns and competition to produce the biggest and most gorgeous lanterns has resulted in their present form," explained the Japan National Tourism Organisation.

Other fire-related celebrations in Japan include the okuribi bonfires held on five mountains in Kyoto which are lit to mark the end of summer.

Written by Mark Smith