Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival

Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival

Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival will be held on every year on the first Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of October. The highlight of the festival is the procession of festival floats which happens during the first evening.

7 large festival floats adorned with lanterns and filled with local people playing taiko drums make their way through the streets of Nihonmatsu City, filling the streets with festival music as they move. The final destination for the floats is Nihonmatsu Shrine.

The view of the 3000 lanterns which are attached to the floats burning against the night sky is one that shouldn’t be missed.

Venue Details

Venue Details

Nihonmatsu Tourism Federation

(+81) 243-55-5122

Best Season
  • Autumn
Entrance FeeFree
Event RecurrenceFestival takes place on the first Sat., Sun., and following Mon. in October
Access Details
Access1 Chome-61 Motomachi, Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima Pref. 964-0917
View directions
Getting there

By Car
Nihonmatsu Station is 2 km from the Nihonmatsu I.C. exit off the Tohoku Expressway. Some streets are barricaded off during festival time, and parking lots get full quickly, we recommend taking public transport to the festival.

By Train
From Tokyo: Take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Koriyama, then change to the Tohoku Main Line heading in the direction of Fukushima. Get off at Nihonmatsu Station. This journey takes around 90 minutes.

From Sendai: Take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Sendai to Fukushima. Change to the Tohoku Main Line, heading in the direction of Koriyama Station and get off at Nihonmatsu Station. This takes 50 minutes.
There is also a highway bus from Sendai which takes around 70 minutes to reach Nihonmatsu Station.


Arts & Crafts

Hashimoto Buddhist Sculpture Shop

The Hashimoto Butsugu-Chokoku Ten (Hashimoto Buddhist Sculpture Shop) has a long history of over 160 years. Here visitors can try the truly unique experience of customizing their own lacquered chopsticks. Under careful instruction, you’ll be able to go home with your very own pair of one-of-a-kind chopsticks. The establishment sells many fine lacquerware products, from kitchen utensils and crockery to masks for use as decoration or at festivals. The chopstick-customizing workshop is available for 2,500 yen per person and is very popular for groups and couples. Even children (ages 12 and up) are able to do it with the supervision of adults and the instruction of the teacher. There are also pamphlets available in English for non-Japanese speakers. The workshop is easy to understand as the instructor guides you through the various steps until you are finally able to see the revealed layers of lacquer color on your own chopsticks. The chopstick experience workshop requires a reservation made at least five days in advance. While you are at the Hashimoto Buddhist Sculpture Shop, you will be guided through the six steps of making your own lacquered chopsticks. It will be an exciting experience as you begin with red or black chopsticks and slowly file down the layers of lacquer until the patterns are revealed. Traditionally, red chopsticks are for women and black are for men. Whichever color you choose though, these are certain to be your favorite set of chopsticks full of memories.  

The World Glassware Hall
Arts & Crafts

Design Your Own Shirakawa Daruma

There are records of Shirakawa Daruma (Japanese traditional dolls) being sold as far back as the feudal reign of the Niwa Domain in 1627. Current Shirakawa Daruma are known as “Shirakawa Tsurugame Shochikubai Daruma.” The faces of these dolls are painted to incorporate various animals and plants, with the eyebrows representing cranes, the mustache representing a turtle, the ears representing pines and plum trees, and the beard representing bamboo or pine trees. All of these images are thought to bring good luck. The daruma is known to be a very classical, lucky talisman, started by Matsudaira Sadanobu, the lord of Shirakawa, when he hired the renowned painter Tani Buncho to paint the now famous face on the daruma doll. Once every year a large Shirakawa Daruma Market is held to celebrate and sell the beloved daruma dolls. You can paint your own daruma at the two daruma workshops in town!

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Shirakawa Daruma Market

Shirakawa Daruma Market

Shirakawa Daruma Market is held annually on February 11. On this date, the streets become lined for 1.5 km with stalls selling Daruma of all shapes and sizes. This lively, exciting market celebrates the culture and history of Shirakawa Daruma – a traditional doll which is characterised by having cranes for eyebrows, a tortoise for a moustache, beard made of bamboo, and pine and plum branches for cheeks, all of which make it a very auspicious item to keep at home.

Usokae Festival

Usokae Festival

At Usokae Festival, held in Iizaka Onsen Town, visitors buy lucky, hand-carved, wooden birds called ‘Usokae’. ‘Usokae’ translates as ‘changing lies’. Visitors who buy an Usokae bird must think of a ‘lie’ – i.e. something they don’t want to happen – which will in turn be changed to good luck to make sure that thing doesn’t occur by the birds by the end of the year. For example, you could think “I won’t pass my school exam” when you buy the bird, and by the end of the year, the bird will help you pass it! This is a unique local festival, and the hand-carved Usokae birds make very charming gifts too!