Web Japan > NIPPONIA No.34 > Special Feature*
NIPPONIA No.34 September 15, 2005

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Mizu yokan
Made from bean paste and agar-agar. Mizu yokan uses less bean paste and agar-agar than ordinary yokan, making it moister. This makes it easier to swallow, so it is an ideal refreshment for hot summer days.
O-bon and festival season(Photos -: JTB Photo)
Go-zan no Okuri-bi, in Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
After sunset on the 16th, five mountains around Kyoto are lit up with spectacular bonfires bidding farewell to the souls of ancestors. The bonfires have a variety of configurations, including kanji characters and a boat. The most spectacular is on Mount Daimonji—there, the plant material to be burned is laid out in the shape of the kanji character pronounced "Dai" , which means "great." Another name for the event is Dai-monji yaki (burning of the kanji "Dai").

Aomori Nebuta Festival, in Aomori, Aomori Prefecture and other locations
Floats weighing up to four tons wind through the streets, displaying huge illuminated nebuta, which are images made of Japanese paper. Energetic dancers called haneto undulate around the floats. The excitement created by the floats and the haneto—as many as 200,000 dancers over the six days of the carnival—is amazing.

Higashiyama Onsen Bon Odori, in Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture
The Yugawa River flows through Higashiyama Spa, a hot spring resort. For the o-bon festival, colorful towers are erected in the shallows of the river. Tourists, apprentice geisha and others dance the night away, moving around the towers to the beat of folk music and song.

Yamaga Toro Lantern Festival, in Yamaga, Kumamoto Prefecture
About a thousand women, with beautifully decorated gilded lanterns on their heads, perform elegant bon odori dances and take spectators into a world of illusion.

Awa Odori Dances, in Tokushima, Tokushima Prefecture and other locations
From August 12 to 15, lively o-hayashi bands play music for the Awa Odori Dances. A sea of dancers moves in almost parade-like fashion down Tokushima's major streets.

Akita Kanto Lantern Festival, in Akita, Akita Prefecture
Hundreds and hundreds of chochin paper lanterns strung along bamboo structures more than 10 meters tall are paraded through the city at night. Men balance them on their hips and shoulders—a real sight to see.

Yosakoi Festival, in Kochi, Kochi Prefecture
The Yosakoi Festival was first organized in Kochi in 1954 to help get the city out of recession and stimulate the local economy. Today, similar festivals are held in many parts of the country. In Kochi, hordes of young people join in, turning the festival into a carnival of rock and roll, samba and other excitement.
2nd to 7th
Aomori Nebuta Festival
(See photo)
5th to 7th
Akita Kanto Lantern Festival
(See photo)
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony
At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on a city for the first time in history. Between that moment and the end of December that year, about 140,000 people died as a result of the bomb. Each year, a Peace Memorial Ceremony is held in Hiroshima to express the earnest desire for the abolition of all nuclear weapons and for lasting world peace.
7th (approximate)
The worst of the summer heat is over. Cool breezes make for refreshing nights, and it seems that autumn will soon arrive. But it continues to be hot during the day.
8th (approximate)
All Japan High School Baseball Championship Tournament, at Koshien Stadium, Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture
Baseball is practically a national sport in Japan.The most watched baseball event is the national senior high school tournament, popularly called Natsu no Koshien ("the summer Koshien").
Teams representing their home prefectures compete fiercely for top spot.
Nagasaki Peace Ceremony
Three days after the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, another hit Nagasaki. By the end of that year, 74,000 people died as a result of that bomb, and another 75,000 were injured or sickened (statistics from the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum). A peace ceremony is held each year on the anniversary, just as it is in Hiroshima three days earlier.
9th to 12th
Yosakoi Festival (See photo)
Awa Odori Dances (See photo)
13th to 18th
Higashiyama Onsen Bon Odori
(See photo)
O-bon festivals
Ceremonies commemorating the end of the war
Ceremonies throughout Japan commemorating the war dead
Yamaga Toro Lantern Festival

(See photo)
Go-zan no Okuri-bi(See photo)
Jizo Bon Festival, in Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
O-bon events in Kyoto associated with Jizo statues, supposedly numbering 5,000. The deity Jizo is said to protect children from harm, so many of the events revolve around youngsters.
Omagari All Japan Fireworks Competition, in Omagari, Akita Prefecture
Firework displays are an important part of summer. This annual competition pits groups of fireworks technicians against each other in front of about 700,000 spectators. Location: near the Omagari Bridge over the Omono River.


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