Furutone Gawa (Furotone River) Floating Lantern Festival – almost back to normal for the first time in four years! The festival was on in 2022, but it was a festival lite. This year, it is more like normal, however, there doesn’t seem to be fireworks again in 2023.
Furutone Floating Lantern Festival
Each year for two days in August, between 200 and 300 floating lanterns are set on the Furutone gawa (river) during this traditional festival in Sugito Town. In 2023, they are aiming for 250 lanterns. Two lines of lanterns float are moored on the river in what is called “The Milky Way that fell to the Ground”. Each lantern is unique, with different pictures and designs. They are handmade by people of the town. One of the floating lanterns is the size of tatami mat and it is said that it is the largest floating lantern in Japan.
The lanterns are most stunning at night, but during the day the people of the town band together to create a festival atmosphere. About 35,000 people come to witness this spectacular scene. In 2023, they will once again have music, dance and traditional folk performances, which were sorely missed last year. They will also have a rickshaw ride. Moreover, this year you can take a boat out on the river. In 2022, the boat went up and down the river, but without passengers. This year, you can apply to go on the boat…
During the festival you can ride a boat up and down the river, between the hours of 5 and 9 pm. It is a free event, but you have to apply in advance for a place. They will start taking applications from 9 am on July 25th. Please watch the Sugito Town website for the most recent information. Even if you don’t secure a place on the free boat rides, you can still come along to enjoy the view of the boat floating down the earthly milky way!
Event: Furutone Floating Lantern Festival 古利根川流灯まつり
Dates: August 26th and 27th 2023.
Time: the boat rides will take place between 5 and 9 pm.
Venue: Furutone river beside Tobu Doubutsu Koen Station. The town respectfully ask that you use the promenade along the river for viewing. That is, please don’t stand on the street in front of the station nor on Furukawa bridge as it obstructs traffic.
Close to the Tobu Skytree line’s Tobu Doubutsu Koen Station; about a one minute walk.
By car, the river is about 15 minutes from Satte IC on the Ken-O Expressway.
First published in 2017, updated annually, last republish June 16th 2022. Last update July 13th 2023.