Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival.

This weekend is the Lantern Festival in Nihonmatsu. Last night was kind of the main night with the carts being paraded through the town up to the castle and back to the shrine.

There are seven areas within the town represented by its own cart/float/group. The carts have cages with about 300 lanterns, wooden carriage wheels, a small shrine within the cart and drummers. They are pulled and pushed by the increasing drunk guys in each group up the two seriously steep hills to the castle (I’ve walked it myself a few times now and it is not an easy stroll) then back through the town to the shrine where they leave the shrine they are carrying and pray.

Some of the groups do tricks like running back and forwards, or spinning the cart as fast as they can a few times. This is a wooden cart loaded with people, drums, a shrine thing, metal frames to hold the 300 lanterns on wooden wheels that don’t turn. They turn it by lifting it. So when they spin it, they’re lifting it and running in a circle. I loved it.

The lanterns are so beautiful. There’s festival food and there’s a big chance the lanterns will go on fire, so basically the perfect night out.

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