Kamihinokinai Paper Balloon Festival
Launch a wish into the midnight sky
The Paper Balloon Festival in Kamihinokinai dates back to the Edo period (1603-1868) as a way to mark the Lunar New Year. The festival is one of the most colorful in Japan; dramatic images of samurai warriors and beautiful geisha are painted onto the side of huge paper balloons, which are then launched into the night. These impressive balloons can be anywhere from 3 to 12 meters tall.
The second part of the festival then sees smaller paper balloons released. If you arrive before 5 p.m. you will have the chance to write your own personal wish on the side of one of these balloons and participate in the mass launch, free of charge. The balloons are all handmade by the local residents using traditional methods.
Kamihinokinai is northwest of Lake Tazawa, which is famous for its serene natural beauty. Experiencing the Paper Balloon Festival as part of a tour of the hot springs is an excellent way to experience the area.
How to get there
Visitors will need to take the Akita Shinkansen to Kakunodate Station and then change to the Akita Nairiku Line. The event site is an eight-minute walk from Kamihinokinai Station.
Held annually on February 10th.
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