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In photos: Japan’s ‘festival of lanterns’ is a visual delight that honours the dead



Priyanka Chharia | Updated on: 14 July 2017, 18:12 IST
A woman wearing kimono looks at rows of lit lanterns during the Mitama Matsuri festival at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Some 30,000 lanterns were illuminated in the precinct in memory of the war victims. (Toru YAMANAKA / AFP)

Spooky as it may seem, Japan’s annual ‘festival of lanterns’, or Mitama Matsuri as it's popularly known, is a summer festival that welcomes the dead and living alike. Held every year since 1947 at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, the festival honours the memories of the Japanese who died during the World War II, including 14 Class A war criminals.

Each year, the festival witnesses lakhs of people who throng the city of Tokyo to be a part of the festival. Mitama Matsuri marks the first of the Obon festivals that are held every year in Japan. Obon is a Japanese Buddhist holiday that celebrates the spirit of one’s ancestors and commemorates the dead.

However, the festival has turned into a big summer party that brings together Japanese culture, history and food. Additionally, as more than 30,000 lanterns are released into the night sky every evening, the festival doubles up as a great opportunity for photographers and photo enthusiasts alike to capture a truly authentic slice of Japan.

This year, the festival is being held from 13-16 July. Here are some of the most stunning photos from the event.

Women wearing kimono enjoy among rows of lit lanterns during the Mitama Matsuri festival at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (Toru YAMANAKA / AFP)
A woman wearing kimono looks at rows of lit lanterns during the Mitama Matsuri festival at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (Toru YAMANAKA / AFP)
A display of lanterns lights the approach to the Mitama Matsuri festival at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (Toru YAMANAKA / AFP)
A display of lanterns lights the approach to the Mitama Matsuri festival at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (Toru YAMANAKA / AFP)
First published: 14 July 2017, 18:12 IST
 
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