Furutone Gawa (Furotone River) Floating Lantern Festival – was scheduled to take place in 2020 at the earlier dates of July 4th and 5th due to the Olympics. (Its normally held in early August). However, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the festival was ultimately cancelled, just days before it was due to start. The Sugito summer festival was also cancelled. In 2021, I don’t think they were even scheduled. But in 2022, (a downsized) Sugito floating lantern festival is coming back! And with it, one of Japan’s largest floating lanterns. However, please note it is a festival lite…
Furutone Floating Lantern Festival
Between 200 and 300 floating lanterns are set on the Furutone gawa (river) during this traditional festival in Sugito Town. 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. They normally have music, dance and traditional folk performances. There are also usually stage performances over the two day celebration. However, in 2022, there are no extra trimmings. They will only moor the lanterns and the boat ride down the aisle of lanterns will be for aesthetics only. They haven’t released the information yet, they said its on the way, but it looks like they won’t actually be taking passengers in 2022. They’ll just float the boat for sightseers to enjoy the view.
That is, there is no stage events, no traffic restrictions, no festival stalls and they won’t actually be floating the lanterns. Normally they have an event where you can send your own lantern down the river, but that part won’t be on in 2022. Moreover, they usually conclude the two day fair with a fireworks display, but there are no fireworks in 2022.
Dates: tentatively August 6th and 7th. Please watch the Sugito Town website for the most recent information. There is a possibility they will actually take a few advance reservations for the boat ride! Otherwise, just come along to enjoy the view of the boat floating down the earthly milky way!
Time: the boat rides will take place between 5 and 9 pm.
Where: 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 movement of passersby.
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.