Aug 23
Aug 25
The warm glow of candlelit paper lanterns

Anamori Inari Shrine Lantern Festival

Handmade lanterns light up a summer evening

By Elizabeth S    - 2 min read
Venue: Anamori Inari Shrine When: Aug 23rd - Aug 25th 2020 ,  6:00pm - 10:00pm

Every year in late August, the parishioners of Anamori Inari Shrine In Ota City join the priests and their attendants to light handmade lanterns, asking Inari-sama, the god of rice, for the granting of wishes.

The lanterns which bear images made by children and adults alike, are set up the day of the festival. Illustrations of kabuki actors and interpretations of ukiyo-e prints hang next to popular characters and naive landscape paintings.

Parishioners and visitors gather around sunset for a Shinto ceremony in the sanctuary before the lantern lighting. The female shrine attendants in red hakama trousers and local elders distribute candles to each person and direct them to make their wish at the opened sanctuary. One by one, each person takes a turn to light the 300 or so lanterns.

Despite being part of vast urban Tokyo, the festival has a hometown feeling, and the parishioners welcome everybody to join the festivities. Just like any small neighborhood festival, the evening is whiled away with children’s dance performances to pop music followed by more traditional drumming and dancing. And eating. Stay around a while and have yakisoba and drinks at the food stalls.

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Elizabeth S

Elizabeth S @elizabeth.scally

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. 

Join the discussion

Sébastien Duval a month ago
Looks like a nice event! Were you wearing a kimono, Elizabeth? 👘
Elizabeth S Author a month ago
I admit I gazed too long at the elderly ladies in yukata. They’re so elegant. I ought to wear one more often.

It was hot and sticky that evening, so after the festival I went to one of the sento pubic baths Ota Ward is famous for.
Kim B a month ago
So impressive that they're handmade!
Bonson Lam a month ago
They remind me of the "matchbox art" from the 1920 Taisho Period. Beautiful!
Bonson Lam a month ago
Oh yes, I can imagine that too. Beautiful in its own way.
Elena Lisina a month ago
Aah, SO beautiful! I wish I could live in Japan for a year...but it's just a fantasy. :)
Sleiman Azizi a month ago
When the bug bites, it bites.