Sugito Town, one of the many tiny towns wedged between the Edo River and Saitama City, celebrates summer with Furutone River Lantern Festival.
For two nights in early August, the town displays two lines of up to 300 floating lanterns in the river. The lanterns, made by hand by local businesses, community groups and schools, are unique for their size. These paper and wood constructions are about the size of a tatami mat. Two lines of the giant lanterns snake along a 1 kilometer stretch of the Furutone River, which the town describes as “the Milky Way Fallen to Earth”.
Celebrations each night begin around 5 p.m. with an opening ceremony, awa odori and yosakoi dances, and popular and folk music. Each night, the festivities conclude with a fireworks display.
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You will see many of my stories on Japan Travel are about places and events outside of big city centers and tourist destinations. While I highly recommend the big name sights and experiences, I encourage visitors to see and feel the atmosphere off the beaten path, too.