‘Twas a warm summer evening in Kamakura. The cicada love song is buzzing with excitement. Hundreds of people flock to witness the delicate candle lighting of 400 Bonbori, or Japanese paper shade lanterns. Artistically decorated by budding artists, professionals, and celebrities, the Bonbori are lined up beautifully along the raised cherry tree pathway and continue up to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura.
Bonbori-Matsuri (Bonbori Festival 雪洞祭) is composed of three rituals held from August 6th-8th:
- Nagoshi-sai: End of Summer Ritual to purifiy defilement and purge the body and the spirit.
- Risshu-sai: Start of Autumn Ritual to pray for abundant harvest and thanks given for a healthy life.
- Sanetomo-sai: Ritual to praise the virtue of Sanetomo, the 3rd Kamakura shogunate.
Be sure to also check out the short video captured on Bonbori Matsuri here.
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Originally from San Diego, California, I lived in Yokosuka, Japan, for 5 years. In 2010, I arrived with a new outlook on my future. Mainly, to refocus on family and let my curiosities take us to places we’ve only dreamt of. Along the way, we’d hopefully develop new friendships and simply collect memories to last a lifetime. Then, there was the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. I will never forget that experience and the devastating effects it had on the entire country. I asked the community, “What can I do to help?” Collecting, sorting, and packing donations, was the least I could do. I also went to California for 1 month, raised a monetary donation for Red Cross, and secured phone interviews to help spread the word on how others from the USA could assist. I was determined to show my family, friends, and folks across the world that it would be okay to return to Japan. I wanted them to know that the little things that make up this beautiful country still existed. What better way than to use a platform such as Japan Travel to share photos and stories full of life, history, and culture. It is a pleasure to say I have contributed more than 150 articles to a database that now collectively holds more than 15,000! This journey has not only allowed me to realize my initial goals, but I’d like to think that it has somehow played a role in sparking an interest locally and across the globe for others to experience all that is published here and more. I invite you to also share your wonderful stories, offer comments, and ask questions right here. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Safe travels! ٩( ๑╹ ꇴ╹)۶