NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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庭月観音灯籠流し Niwatsukikannon-Tourounagashi Niwatsuki Kannon Lantern Floating

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The Niwatsuki Kannon lantern-floating event takes place every year on 18 August on the Sakekawa River, which flows in front of Niwatsuki Kannon in Sakekawa-mura, Yamagata Prefecture. Niwatsuki Kannon is a holy ground famous as the final stop on the Saijo 33 Kannon pilgrimage, and many visitors come to see this shrine to the Kannon bodhisattva.

Niwatsuki Kannon lantern-floating is an old Obon event that has been held every year since the Edo period, and many people from inside and outside the prefecture come to participate. It is the largest lantern-floating Buddhist ceremony in eastern Japan.

At sunset, nearly 100 lanterns are lit, while dedication songs and prayers begin. The lanterns are then released into the river one by one, to the accompaniment of songs, while people make prayers commemorating their ancestors. Watching the many dimly-lit lanterns float gently off into the dark distance is a magical sight.
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