All Japan lovers know the Nagasaki, Tokyo or Kumamoto Lanterns Festival. But did you know that Fukuoka has two (smaller) festivals too ? There is Hakata Tomyo Watching and the Muromi-gawa Tomyo Matsuri . I went to the second one on Saturday night after two unsuccessful attempts in 2012 (canceled due to rain) and 2013 (I already had plans for the evening).
Created in 2000, the festival kind of unknown due to lack of promotion. To promote, there is no website but a blog, all in Japanese, a little note on the official website of the borough and some posters in the subway. Therefore only few people outside of the Jonan district inhabitantsare aware of this with this festival.
The festival can be accessed easily : it takes only a 3 minutes walk from the Jiromaru station (次郎 丸駅) on the Nanakuma line (七隈線). Departing from the Shinkansen Hakata Station, it takes about 40 minutes with a subway change.
This year the theme was insect orchestra (虫のオーケストラ) . In fact there were creations of all kinds!
For only one evening, from 6pm to 9 pm, lanterns were consumed to the delight of young and older ones. I had a great night, I could spend hours watching these little lanterns' flickering lights.
Even if I preferred the Hakata Tomyo Watching Festival (because we can go to high place to see the shapes) I think it's great to see a such nice job because, unlike the Hakata's one, Muromi's festival doesn't have so much money and it is organized by a small group of neighborhood volunteers. I admire their work and I hope to join the staff next year.
Meanwhile I sent an email to the Hakata festival staff to see if they are looking for volunteers.