Kamifusen-age (紙風船上げ）Festival in Nishiki Area is held on Februrary 10th every year at Kamifusen Hiroba.
Releasing the Giant Balloons on Daytime
After some stage performances of traditional music and a Shinto ritual ceremony, kamifusen-age (“paper balloon shooting”) begins. At certain hours between 18:00 to 20:30 p.m., you can see a school of giant lanterns released to the sky all at once. The sight of bright lanterns slowly going up to the night sky is simply unforgettable.
Write your wish on the balloon. (Left) Send a postcard from the event site (right)
Tourists could also participate in this festival by writing wishes at the designated tent. Many people write wishes for the good health of friends and family, a success in professional career, and a fruitful relationship. This year, we found: ”Peace in Egypt!” --- World peace as well!
Tents with different types of local foods! Some rice cakes and cookies (up), sansai nabe (right), and kiritanpo (left)
The plaza is surrounded by more than twenty tents with various local specialties such as “oyaki” (roasted rice-cake), hot noodle soups, meat, pickled vegetables, candies, etc.
Different types of nabe (hot pot) are available as well. This year, sansai-nabe bowl was available for only 100 yen! It included at least 6 different kinds of wild delicacies from the mountains. Take a seat in the cozy tent! You will definitely feel warmth both in your body and heart. In this welcoming atmosphere, you will most likely find yourself meeting new people.
Around 18:00, there was a small heart-warming speech in the strong regional dialect by the most famous Nishiki native, Mr. Kadowaki, Semboku City mayor. It was followed by a simultaneous release with his countdown.
Many villagers are involved in the preparation process. With all their wishes embedded, the balloons are lit with a fire ball and released up to the sky. The lighting is the final and crucial moment: All the months-long effort can be ruined with an accident. That is why there is unspeakable amount of joy shared in the moment.
The final process
Hopefully you won't miss your chance next year. Come by on Februrary 10th!