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Giant Paper Lanterns On Wheels


Usually you’d have to hie yourself all the way up to rural Aomori* to catch a glimpse of these epic glowing floats, but lucky for me, last fall I happened across an outpost of the Nebuta Festival right in my own backyard! For some mysterious reason, six of the outrageously great floats were swanning down the shopping street near Nakanobu Station (yeah, I’d never gotten off there before either!) in mid-September, and they did not disappoint.

Warriors no less fierce because they're made out of paper
Warriors no less fierce because they’re made out of paper


His banner reads “Nakanobu Nebuta Festival” – proof that these aren’t just borrowed finery


You can get an idea of big these things are YIKES the signs on either side were in danger
You can get an idea of big these things are YIKES the signs on either side were in danger

The grandaddy of all Nebuta festivals takes place on its home turf in Aomori at the beginning of August, but this mini version happens every two years in Tokyo, on the Nakanobu shopping street near Nakanobu Station. The next one will happen in September 2020, so plan ahead!

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Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

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