Featuring more than 15,000 lanterns, the festival originally started as a more simple Chinese New Year celebration. In 1994, the festival expanded from the confines of Nagasaki’s Chinatown to become the Nagasaki Lantern Festival.
The festival takes place over the first 15 days of the Chinese lunar new year. Venues are spread throughout Nagasaki, but the two main event venues are Minato Park and Chuo Park.
Along with a display of lanterns, the festival includes fireworks, Chinese acrobatics, lion dances, dragon dances, Chinese theatre, kokyu performances, an Emperor’s parade, a Mazu (goddess) procession, a ‘campaign lady’ (beauty) contest.
The schedule of events last year was as follows:
February 8th, 5:30pm – 6pm
Opening Ceremony and Lantern Illumination at Minato Park (fireworks too). Chuo Park – light up only.
February 13th and 20th, 2pm – 4:30pm
The parade will start at Chuo Park and proceed to Minato Park.
February 14th and 21st, 2pm – 5:20pm