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Friday, 10th June 2011
In Events In Japan,

Lantern festival kicks off in northwest Japan

Those lucky enough to be in northwest Japan this weekend (June 10th to 11th) can catch a spectacular festival of gigantic lanterns.

The Tonami Yokata Festival takes place in the relatively unknown Toyama Prefecture, and Japan Times describes it as "one of the country's most enthralling events".

Held every year since the 1920s, the festival is a tradition to bless the harvest of the crops and preparation can take as long as three months.

The best 20 giant bamboo lanterns are chosen to be part of a parade on the second day of the event, which features loud drumming, singing and chanting, as well as traditional Japanese costume.

Each lantern is decorated using colourful washi paper, which is sewn together by hand by the diligent local artisans, before they are crashed together as part of this highly energetic ritual.

The city of Tonami is situated in the north west of Japan, just one hour north of Tokyo.

Written by Susan Ballion

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