‘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.