I visited an annual summer event, Eiheiji Toro-nagashi (Lantern Festival), which was held along Kuzuryu River in Eiheiji Town, Yoshida-gun, Fukui Prefecture on August 25th, 2018. Toro-nagashi is a Japanese ceremony in which participants release candle-lit lanterns into
a river as a way to help guide spirits to the other world.
This year was the 31st time for the festival to be held and it has been a seasonal tradition that tells summer will be ended soon. Many people in and out of the prefecture visit the festival every year.
There are several events held throughout the day, which are divided into daytime programs and night ones. I visited the night ones.
According to some acquaintances of mine who were there from the beginning of the festival, the daytime program was begun with a Japanese drum show at 2 p.m., visitors enjoyed
live shows by a local reggae singer and comedians. Also, the visitors enjoyed a show of a TV superhero, the “Masked Rider” (Kamen Rider).
I arrived at around 6 p.m., and there were many visitors, and food stands which served Japanese festival common foods such as takoyaki (octopus dumpling) and okonomiyaki (savory Japanese-style of pancake). Some local dishes were served at the stands as well.
At 7 p.m., the Toro-nagashi ceremony began. Monks from Eiheiji Temple first read the sutra, and then participants released approximately 10,000 lanterns into the waters of the Kuzuryu River. Finally, at the end of the ceremony, a display of fireworks exploding in the night sky, was one of the highlights of the event.
If you have a chance to visit Fukui in the end of August, how about enjoying
the lantern ceremony in Eiheiji Town, Yoshida-gun, Fukui Prefecture?