April is time for the Yatai Matsuri in Otawara, Tochigi prefecture. It’s a loud, fun, musical(ish) 2 day event downtown, near the Kanodoro lantern… The festival involves wooden floats called Yatai. These traditional small, mobile food stalls in Japan typically sell ramen or other food. The name literally means "shop stand."
The floats are beautifully decorated with carvings of animals, dragons, monkeys, with lots of different lanterns that light up at night. Some floats are plain (but beautiful) wood, some are lacquered, some painted. They are all very different and each one comes from a region around Otawara…
Otawara Sakura Buttsuke, held each year, commemorates the joining of the 9 cities, villages, and towns that now make up Otawara..