Kuki Lantern Festival Tenno Festival

The Kuki Lantern Festival, also known as Kuki Tenno Festival, is one of the most famous festivals in Saitama Prefecture. Information for this year;

Kuki Lantern Festival

A must see festival: Kuki Lantern Festival (or Tenno Festival) is held annually on two fixed dates. Regardless of the day of the week, the festival is held on July 12th and July 18th each year. This spectacular Tenno Festival is the biggest lantern festival in the Kanto region (area around Tokyo). It is one festival not to miss if you are in the Greater Tokyo area in July. There is a good reason why thousands of people attend this incredible festival every year. 

The festival celebrates local folklore. It is famous throughout Japan. It has even been featured on overseas documentaries about Japan too. The festival supposedly started after a volcano erupted over 230 years ago. It greatly impacted the region. The Kuki locals banded together to lift the spirits of people in their city and indeed the Kanto region with a vitalizing celebration. Thus was born the Tenno aka Lantern Festival.

During the festival, locals carry huge floats of paper lanterns through the town. There are seven in total, one for each district in the town. What makes them extra special is that the lanterns transform between day and night. During the day the floats depict mythical characters. At night they display the enchanting lanterns. Both day and night, traditional music is played by traditionally dressed musicians sitting in the floats.

 

There are approximately 100 festival stalls on the 12th and 300 on the 18th.

Kuki Lantern Festival Information

Date: Wednesday July 12th and Tuesday July 18th annually

Schedule: The festival normally starts just after noon on both days and runs until 10 pm. The main action, the dancing of the lantern floats, is usually on around 8 pm at the Kuki Station’s west rotary.

Cost: You can enjoy the Kuki Lantern Festival for free. Obviously any food or drinks will incur charges! Parking, if you can find any, is also charged! At festivals like these it is generally best to come by public transport unless you are familiar with where you can park in the area.

Official web page As of June 12th 2024 it has not yet been updated for this year, but they have scheduled the event in the yearly round up which you can see here.

Access

The area of the Tenno festival is close to JR Kuki station. Kuki station is about a 20 minute train ride from Omiya.

By car the festival is about a 10 minute drive from the Kuki exit of the Tohoku expressway.

Another “not to miss” festival is the Chichibu Night Festival held annually in December.

For more events in Saitama please see the main events category or you can peruse other upcoming events here.

Things to do nearby

Featured image and video from the official festival website.

20170524. Editor’s note: this post was temporarily removed from the website during the pandemic, because the event was completely cancelled in 2020. Furthermore, in 2021, a small part of it was on, without any type of food or festival stalls. Moreover, it was for locals only. The post was republished on July 5th 2022 as the festival was on, albeit a ‘festival lite’. The post is updated annually and the last republish was June 12th 2024.

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