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Shimabara Castle Town HinameguriEvery year on March 3rd, Japanese people decorate their homes with traditional dolls to celebrate Girl's Day, also known as "Hinamatsuri" (the Dolls Festival) or "Momo-no-Sekku" (Peach Festival). Peaches symbolise perpetual youth and longevity, and in Nagasaki during this season you can find peach-shaped versions of the popular Nagasaki cake, 'Castella'. Residents and shops in Shimabara City mark the festival by setting out their treasured ornaments dressed in Heian-court outfits. So, come and get a glimpse of them while you stroll around the castle town of Shimbara, also known for its delicious food, hot springs and an abundance of fascinating historical sites.
Nagasaki Lantern FestivalBegun as a celebration of the Chinese New Year primarily by the Chinese merchants resident in Nagasaki, the Lantern festival has become a staple winter event in the city, and the largest of its kind in all of Japan.
Over 15,000 colorful lanterns and large art objects adorn the entire city; from Chinatown and Minato Park, to Chuo Park, Meganebashi (Spectacles Bridge), Kanko-dori Arcade in Hamanomachi, and many other locations throughout the city.
Throughout the event period, colorful attractions such as Chinese circus performances and dragon dancing are held around the clock at various locations and stages around the city.
The KanoukaenThe largest fire festival in all of Nagasaki features 200 participants in samurai warrior costume strolling through the blooming cherry trees of Tachibana Park with flaming torches in their hands. This practice is based on an illustrated story found in a historical scroll from over 400 years ago.
Nagushiyama Azalea FestivalThe 234-meter peak of Mt. Nagushiyama offers an unbroken view of the Saikai National Park and the northern Kujuku Islands. The mountain is located half way between northern Nagasaki's historical town of Hirado and Sasebo City, the home of Huis Ten Bosch, and can be reached from either in less than an hour. The view from here created by some 100,000 Kurume azaleas and Hirado azaleas, with the islands in far distance, is nothing short of breathtaking.
Nagasaki Tall Ships FestivalSailing ships large and small flock to Japan's only tall ship event, held in the port town of Nagasaki.
The festival includes events centred around the ships including sail drills, tours of the ships, and cruises around the Port of Nagasaki, as well as hands-on classes such as canoeing, yachting and rope-tying.
Along with illuminations, there will be fireworks on Saturdays and Sundays during the event period.
There will be many more events and souvenir vendors available on site as well.
Isahaya Lantern River FestivalThis festival started as a memorial for the 630 victims of the Great Flood of Isahaya, which took place on July 25, 1957. The festival is a way to mourn the loss of life but also to promote the development of a safe and beautiful town. The combination of the 23,000 lanterns floating down the Honmyo River, 1,500 fireworks and the illumination of Spectacles Bridge is a fantastic sight.
Emukae Sentourou (Thousand Lantern) FestivalThis traditional event has been held for around 500 years. The centerpiece is truly a sight to behold: a tower of about 25m in height, decorated with hanging lanterns numbering about 3,300. It’s the tallest of its kind in all of Japan!
When evening comes, some 10,000 hanging lanterns are lit throughout the town, inviting you into a wondrous world of lights.
The beauty of Emukae is best experienced during this wonderful and brief festival of lights, happiness, and prayer.
The Emukae Sentoro festival also features an old Buddhist procession called the “mizukake Jizo matsuri.” Young kids take turns pouring fresh water over a wooden statue of Jizo, the guardian of children. The statue is then paraded through the village. It’s believed that children who pour water over the Jizo statue will be blessed with good health.
Shimabara Castle Takigi Noh (Bonfire Noh) There is an extensive history and culture of Noh theatre in Shimabara City. In order to protect and nurture this tradition, Shimabara Castle Bonfire Noh was revived in 1983, allowing the colorful culture of the Genroku period (late 17th – early 18th century) to be experienced once again.
Yosakoi Sasebo FestivalThis is the largest Yosakoi dance festival in Kyushu, and has the stated aim of ‘making spectators and participants want to return to Sasebo to watch and dance again’. Teams gather from all over Japan and perform their high-energy dances at locations around the city.
Maruyama Hana Festival (Maruyama Women's Festival)Location: Umezono Migawari Tenmangu and surrounding area
This event brings to life the bygone days of Maruyama, formerly one of the three largest geisha districts (hanamachi) in Japan, with traditional dances and a procession of courtesans through the streets. The festival also features an onnamikoshi, a portable shrine carried strictly by women only.
Huis Ten Bosch - Kingdom of LightIlluminated installations made from over 10 million lightbulbs, the world's largest such display, with added entertainments.
Huis Ten Bosch welcomes you to the Kingdom of Light - crowned No.1 for three consecutive years by Yahoo! Japan's Christmas special ranking, the "top 20 most-popular illuminations in Japan".
Doya Tanada (Rice Terrace) FestivalA magical scene emerges from Doya Tanada's rice terraces, as some 2,600 lanterns, set on the ridges between the rice fields, are lit up. It is so magical that time seems to stop for a moment; the sun sets on the ocean just beyond the terraces, creating a beam of reflection and painting the entire field of vision into a world of nothing but gold and orange.