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The days around August 15th are called Obon in Japan. It is believed that spirits of departed ancestors return to their families during the period. On August 15th in the Obon period, Shoro Nagashi takes place in the City of Nagasaki. This traditional regional festival is meant to send a spirit to heaven who departed before this year's Obon. This major festival attracts over 190,000 visitors every year. Surviving family members pull a handmade boat and parade it through the downtown while praying for the eternal rest of the departed soul.
- The downtown area of Nagasaki City in Nagasaki Prefecture (streets of Shianbashi - Kenchozaka - Ohato)
- 10-min walk from JR Nagasaki Station
- Official Website
- Admission fee
- August 15th every year (hours: 17:00-23:00)
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Handmade Boats with Family's Remembrances
The handmade boats come in various sizes and materials. They are generally made with bamboo, wooden boards and straw and have family names, family crests and addresses on their bows. The boats are decorated to reflect hobbies and life styles of the departed. You will see many heartwarming boats that represent surviving family's warm thoughts.
A Parade of Boats Liven up the City
On the day of Shoro Nagasi, you will hear the sound of bells and the distinctive shout of "chankon, chankon, doi doi" emanating everywhere after sunset followed by loud firecrackers. The parade continues till late at night through the smoke of firecrackers.
Best Spectating Spot!
Starting from each surviving family's home, there are three courses to the final destination called Nagashiba. The boats parade in front of Nagasaki Station, Nagasaki City Hall or Kenchozaka. There are many locations to view the parade, but you can see all the boats from the three courses at Kenchozaka just before the Nagashiba.