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Dai-Chochin Matsuri, Isshiki’s giant lantern festival

On August 26 and 27 every year, giant chochin – paper lanterns – are set up in the city of Isshiki, some of them up to 10-meter high and decorated with drawings of Japanese legends that come to life at nightfall.

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The festival of giant lanterns in Isshiki, in Aichi prefecture, appeared some 450 years ago when a fire was lit in Suwa sanctuary to light up the surroundings for night watch. According to the legend, it also kept sea demons away, which otherwise came to ravage fields and wound the inhabitants. This custom has become a Shinto ritual during which kagari-bi were lit up, and later chochin, paper lanterns. It also became a competition for the hugest and most beautiful lantern.

 
 

The biggest chochin measure up to 5 meters in diameter and 10 meters high. During the festival, twelve groups of lanterns are presented, with illustrations and texts on them telling Japanese tales and legends. During Dai-Chochin Tsuriage, the candles inside the lanterns are lit up and slowly unveil the colorful scenes with which they are decorated. 

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  • Culture & traditions
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