The making of the lanterns that will decorate “yamaboko” floats during this year’s festivities is in the final stages.
At the factory of lantern maker Takahashi Chochin, founded in 1730, workers are making about 400 small and large lanterns that will adorn traditional floats such as Fune-hoko and Kanko-hoko.
“It is important to understand the formality of each float, and pass on the tradition,” said Koji Takahashi, 79, who is the 13th-generation owner of Takahashi Chochin.
The frames of the lanterns are made out of bamboo and are then covered with traditional Japanese paper. The names of the floats are then written in black “sumi” ink; the shapes and sizes of the kanji characters on the lanterns depend on the type of float.
The Gion Matsuri, which started July 1, will reach its peak at Yoiyama on July 14 to 16 and Yamaboko Junko, the parade of floats, on July 17.
The traditional paper lanterns will also illuminate shopping streets in Japan’s ancient capital during the annual festival.