NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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上杉雪灯篭まつり Uesugi-yukidourou-matsuri Uesugi Snow Lantern Festival

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Uesugi Snow Lantern Festival is held annually in Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture. 300 lanterns and 2000 bonbori lanterns, all of which are made of snow, are lined across Matsugasaki Park on the 2nd Saturday and Sunday of February.

The sight of the candles flickering in the wind creates a magical beauty, inviting visitors into a surreal fairytale-like world. An immense snow monument built for soothing the souls of those who were never able to return to their hometown alive during the World War II, stands on top of the Hill Of Requiem located in the center of the park. Throughout the night, citizens come to light candles in memory of the dead.

A snow-viewing party is held at the neighboring Uesugi Kinenkan hall, where the local cuisine can be enjoyed. It is a great luxury to toast and feast on the local sake and cuisine while quietly viewing the flickering snow lanterns outside.
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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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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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