Sun, Aug
15

Shoro Nagashi Lantern Floating Ceremony

6:00pm – 11:00pm
Free

The annual holiday of Obon runs until the night of Shoro Nagashi. During this time, the spirits of the dead come back to see their living friends and family; Shoro Nagashi wishes them well and sends them back to heaven. This religious festival is loud with firecrackers and gongs, a solemn and joyous seeing-off.

Families and friends who have lost loved ones since the last O-Bon build shorobune boats, while neighborhood associations and groups build moyaibune boats, of bamboo, grass and wood. Each boat is decked with flowers and lanterns, sometimes with a picture of the deceased and often with a small memorial object. Some boats are designed in the shape of something the deceased particularly loved. These boats are paraded through the Nagasaki streets, past Nagasaki Station, Nagasaki Prefectural Office, and down Kenchozakadori, before being destroyed at the end of the parade in Nagashiba.

Festivities begin at dusk and carry on late into the night. Many streets are closed for the procession, so it is best to take the train or tram to Ohato, Gotomachi or Nishihamanomachi Stations, and walk to the prime viewing spot at Kenchozakadori outside the Nagasaki Prefectural Office. The Shoro Nagashi attracts up to 190,000 visitors a year, so get there early—and, as this is a religious festival, be respectful!

Get the best Japan Cheapo hacks direct to your inbox

Related Events
  • Mifune Festival Kyoto
    Sun, May
    16

    Mifune Festival

    The Mifune Festival takes place on the Katsura River in Arashiyama on the third Sunday of May each year. The festival features traditional boats carrying musicians and performers floating down the river. The name of the festival translates as the […]

    12:30pm – 3:00pm
    Free
  • Mid
    May

    Kobe Festival

    Cancelled

    The Kobe Festival is a citywide festival that runs over two days. The first day sees separate celebrations in each of the city’s 9 wards. The big parade happens on Sunday along Sannomiya Flower Road starting at 12 noon. For […]

    Free
  • Cheapo may events in Japan
    Tue, May
    18

    Togyo 1,000 Samurai Procession

    The procession – actually featuring about 1,200 participants – takes place on the second day of the Nikko Toshogu Shrine grand festival. Starting at 11am, participants dress as warriors in samurai armour and escort mikoshi (portable shoulder borne shrines) to […]

    11:00am – 3:00pm
    Free
  • Lion at the Sakata Festival
    May 19
    ~
    May 21

    Sakata Festival

    Held annually since 1609, this three day festival in the Japan Sea port town of Sakata is renowned for its giant lion head floats and unique wheeled floats. The festival was originally known as the Sanno Festival but was renamed […]

    Free