Yamaga Lantern Festival, Kumamoto

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The “Yamaga Toro Matsuri” (The lantern festival) is held every year from August 15 through 16th in Yamaga, Kumamoto city area. On 15th, the “Hono Toro” (the dedicatory lantern), which modelled Shinto shrines Buddhist temples and castles, is displayed in each town, including “Hono Toro Odori” (the dedication lantern dance) by the Yamaga Lantern Dance Preservation Society, and the fireworks of approximately 4,000 setting off at Kikuchi-gawa river are held.



“The welcome ceremony of the Emperor Keiko” which is the origin of this festival is held on August 16. Other than “Taimatsu Gyoretsu” (a torch line) to parade around the city having a torch, the fantastic “Sen-nin Toro Odori” (1,000 lantern dances), that women dressed in the yukata and put the golden lantern on top of their head dance elegantly, are held.



The origin of this festival dates back to the times of “Kojiki” and “Nihon-Shoki” (collections of the classics in Japanese literature, called ‘Records of Ancient Matters’ and ‘Chronicles of Japan’). When the Emperor Keiko was traveling, the thick fog disoriented him. Then people of Yamaga raised a torch and showed him the way, and invited.
Thereafter they worshiped the Emperor, and dedicated a torch every year. It is said that this event is the origin of “Yamaga Lantern Festival”.



Women putting on “Kana-Toro” (Metal Lantern) made with Japanese paper dances in the Yamaga Lantern Festival.
Because this “Kana-Toro” is made of paper, it is very light, so they seem to forget putting.



The “Agari-Toro”, which male servants carry decorated dedicatory lantern on their shoulders and go to Omiya Shrine, is a climax of this event. More than approximately 300,000 people in and around the Kumamoto-city have come to see this festival that is outstanding summer feature in Kyushu.




Name:Yamaga Lantern Festival
Adresse:Yamaga Yamaga-shi, Kumamoto 861-0533 Japan
Access:JR Kyushu-shinkansen Line “Shin-Tamana-eki Station” (30 minutes by car)
Tel:(+81)968-43-1579 (Yamaga City Tourism Office)
Official site:http://yamaga-tanbou.jp/

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