Right now we are in the middle of one of the most important Japanese holidays - O-Bon. O-Bon is the time when ancestors come to visit their families and when their visit comes to an end, they return back to where they now belong, following hundreds of floating lanterns. That is what Sendai Toro-nagashi (Floating lantern festival, August 20) is.
In Sendai, Toro-nagashi started as a memorial service for those who died of hunger or perished in natural disasters, but later this tradition was transformed into a beautiful summer festival with a little hint of a sadness - a summer festival O-Bon, when the whole family gets united, is over and the summer itself shall soon be over, too.
If you feel a need to say goodbye to the summer in a warm and refined way, maybe this festival is just what you need.
The festival has one more name - “Evening of light, water and concert”, which describes it perfectly. You can enjoy a sight of floating lanterns, reflecting in Hirosegawa’s waters while listenig to the music and tasting various festival food and drinks.
Festival ends with fireworks (what Japanese summer festival it can be without fireworks?), a great finishing point to O-Bon and this year’s summer.
Festival grounds are situated at the Miyazawa bridge, just a 2-minute walk from Kawaramachi subway station. The concert starts as 16:00, but the impressing opening ceremony with Buddhist priests participating starts at 17:30, and the fireworks start at 19:45. Participation is free, but in case you want to lit a lantern for your ancestors, you have to purchase a ticket (from 1,800 yen) either at the festival, or beforehand at one of the shops in Kawaramachi or Nagamachi. For more about lanterns, see the link below (Japanese).