The Nagasaki Lantern Festival is one of the highlights of winter in Nagasaki, held to celebrate the lunar new year. Held in Chinatown, the festival runs for the first fifteen days of the lunar new year, and features about 15,000 lanterns.
This year, it started on January 28th and the festival will carry on till February 11, 2017. The light up starts from 17:00 till 23:00 during the festival, and the sunsets around 18:00 around this time.
Nagasaki Lantern Festival
Nagasaki’s Chinatown is one of the three biggest Chinatowns in Japan, alongside the ones in Yokohama and Kobe. The illuminated areas are not far from Nagasaki Station and can be reached in about a 20-minute walk. Minato Park is one of the main lantern display areas and a stone’s throw away from Chinatown.
Other major lantern display areas include the Chuo Park as well as the covered shopping arcade in central Nagasaki. I spent the evening after dinner walking around the illuminated areas enjoying the numerous lanterns on display and managed to catch two performances, the chinese lion dance and the dragon dance.
The area is very lively during the festival with food vendors at the parks, lanterns lighting the way as well as the scheduled performances that delight the spectators.
It certainly brings a lot of cheer during the lunar new year celebrations and is not to be missed if you want a sample of the major Chinese celebration. And, since the festival is held in the Chinatown district, it would be a pity to skip a meal at a Chinese restaurant in the area.
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