Nagasaki Lantern Festival
Nagasaki Lantern Festival
There is a lot to do and see in Nagasaki as a tourist. Some of the most popular things to do in Nagasaki include visiting the Nagasaki Peace Park, the Dejima. Gunkanjima, and the Huis Ten Bosch. Although these are some of the most well-known things to see in Nagasaki, just like other cities across Japan there is a major festival that takes place in Nagasaki that makes it unique and different from the other cities. From late January to early February, Nagasaki holds a three week long festival called the Nagasaki Lantern Festival.
(picture source: https://nagasaki-search.com/682/)
The Nagasaki Lantern Festival is a celebration for the Chinese New Year. This festival was originally started by the Chinese people who lived in Nagasaki and it originally took place in the Chinatown located right in Nagasaki. And although this was originally only celebrated by Chinese residents it later became known as the Nagasaki Lantern Festival in 1994. And since then, every winter Nagasaki has held a Nagasaki Lantern Festival.
(picture source: https://zuikouen.com/blog/archives/1879)
This festival takes place every year from January 1st os the Lunar Calendar until January 15th. The festival in Nagasaki is very much similar to the Lantern Festival in China and has over 15,000 Chinese lanterns all over the city. The city will be decorated with art by Chinese artists and there is a bunch of delicious Chinese cuisine to be enjoyed. There are eight main sites where the lanterns are displayed but the three major areas of the eight are Chuo-koen, Minato-koen and Chinatown. So if you don’t have time to go to all three then I would suggest going to at least the three major ones.
If you arrive in Nagasaki by train there will be a Nagasaki Lantern Festival program that you can get for free at the station. It is in Japanese but I would still recommend getting one because it does have excellent information on it and the Japanese is pretty easy to decipher even if you can’t read Japanese.
If you do happen to get the program you’ll need to first locate the two park lantern displays which have a Chinese lantern graphic pasted on a large green shaded background. The local bus stop is located right in front of the train station. This is a shuttle bus that loops around the city which stops near all of the important tourist sites. And the great thing about this bus is that it is only 100 yen!
(picture source: http://kosublog.com/nagasaki-day2-part3-1602/)
When you take the bus, the first place that you will spot is the Minato-koen. You’ll need to get off at the Nagasaki Bus Terminal which is the 5th stop from the station. Once you get off walk a few blocks southeast down the main road and then you will reach a building called Fukuya building. Turn left and then go straight until you see the beautiful lanterns.
Right next to the Minato-koen is Chinatown which is the other major spot for the lantern festival. There will be a huge crowd with lots of restaurants and snacks lined up along the street. You can get cheap souvenirs and cheap snacks here.
(picture source: https://matome.naver.jp/odai/2142443913815989601/2142444009517593703)
Next to go to the Chuo-koen you’ll need to go on the bus and you’ll know when you are there because the bus stop for the Chuo-koen is located right in front of the park. Chuo-koem is small but it is just as charming as the Minato-koen.
Chuo-koen, unlike the Minato-koen, has a stage where you will be entertained by musicians, acrobats, and some other amazing Chinese acts. It is some of the most impressive performance that you can see and enjoy while also enjoying the beautiful lanterns in the surrounding area.
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