The festival, started by the residents of Nagasaki Shinchi‘s Chinatown, was originally a celebration for the Chinese new year that marked the beginning of spring. In 1994, they kicked it up in scale to become the Nagasaki Lantern Festival and is now the colorful major winter event of the city. Over 15,000 Chinese lanterns cover center city Nagasaki, bathing the streets in vibrant light. There are also many artistic object placed throughout the city of various shapes and sizes with some reaching over 10m tall. On the stage in China town, the main venue of the festival, you will really get a feeling of Chinese culture, as shows are held daily. Look forward to Lion Dances (shishimai), Dragon dances (ryu odori), Chinese acrobats and Erhu (Chinese string instrument) performances. This illusionary and exotic festival goes on for 15 days and attracts over 1,000,000 people.
Lanterns and large object fill the streets of Nagasaki Chinatown, the main venue of the festival. Thanks to the vibrant colors and festive flavor, you will have an amazing time walking the town while trying the wonderful gourmet. In the venue of Nakashima-gawa park where the Megane Bridge (Japan’s oldest arch shaped bridge: recognized as a national significant cultural asset) stands, you will find the only yellow lanterns of the whole festival, which hang over a river, casting a most fantasy-like reflection in the water below. We also recommend shopping in the Hamanmachi section after strolling around the many limited-time attractions in the city.
Nagasaki has always boasted a strong relationship with China since long ago. At this festival you will be able to get a good taste of the flamboyant atmosphere that the Chinese new year has to offer. At the “Emperor Parade” held on Saturday afternoons during the festival, people gather in the streets to watch a reenactment of how the emperor celebrated the new year with his people during the Qing dynasty. You can see daily performances of Chinese acrobats and dances in Chinatown, the main venue of the festival. Throughout the city, there are also many events being held at different locations of Chinese historical importance.
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Access to Nagasaki City
JR Nagasaki Station
Main Venue: Minato Park, Nagasaki Chinatown
Address: 1500-1 Shinchimachi, Nagasaki City
When going from Nagasaki station, you can take the trolley headed for Shougakuji Shita Station. Get off at Tsukimachi Station. It is a 3min walk from there.