Crafting lanterns to light up the nights during an annual traditional festival in Kyoto has been scaled down as the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of parts of the festival's major events, including the procession of floats.

The Yamahoko float procession, often described as a "moving art gallery," is the highlight of Kyoto's Gion Festival, which is said to date back to the year 869 when a ceremony was held to pray for warding off epidemics.


Okugawa lantern factory, which makes lanterns to decorate the Yamahoko floats, has mainly made lanterns to decorate stores in the shopping streets of Shijo and Shinkyogoku this year.

The work started about one and a half months later than usual, with the number of orders down by one-third to about 1,000.

In early July, lanterns were piled up in the workspace in the factory as craftspeople drew emblems and patterns on them.
"It's a pity that we have fewer lanterns to work on this year, but I hope it will be bustling next year," the 65-year-old master of the factory said.

The Kyoto Shimbun

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