Production of the lanterns that illuminate the Gion Festival in Kyoto has reached its peak.

At Okugawa Lantern Factory, established in the middle of the Edo period (1603-1867), the number of orders is gradually returning to pre-COVID-19 levels and the craftsmen are putting their hearts into finishing the lanterns.

Lanterns at Okugawa Lantern Factory.

The Yamahoko parade, the highlight of the Gion Festival, one of the three main festivals in the ancient capital of Japan, will take place later this month.

Eight craftsmen at the shop started production in early May before entering the peak period in mid-June. They plan to deliver about 2,700 lanterns this year, up from about 1,500 last year.

The lanterns are made with bamboo and wire frames covered in Japanese paper and the craftsmen add characters and family crests to them.

"It makes me happy to see many people walking under the light of the lanterns," said Tadashi Okugawa, the eighth-generation owner of the shop.

The Kyoto Shimbun

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