The Nagatoro Funadama (Funatama) Festival is not open to the public in 2022. Moreover, they will only be carrying out the religious elements of the festival. There will be no boats or lanterns or fireworks. The festival was not on in 2021 either.
On April 27th 2020, months ahead of its scheduled date, the Nagatoro Tourist Assocation announced the cancellation of the 2020 Nagatoro Fundama Festival. Like the majority of events cancelled in 2020 it was due to concerns about the Coronavirus outbreak. It is too early to tell (September 2020) if the festival will be able to go ahead in 2021, but in the hope that it can and it will, hereafter some information about the illustrious festival.
General Information about Nagatoro Funadama Festival
Nagatoro Funadama Festival (or Nagatoro Funatama festival) is an annual festival held in the stunning Iwadatami area of Chichibu. Spectacular lantern boats float on the Ara River on the evening of August 15th each year. In addition, the festival is set off with an exhilirating firework display backdropping the beautiful lantern boats on the river.
The festival’s origins are religious, with roots in both Shinto and Buddhism. It is said that the boats were floated on the river to pray to the water God for safety and protection for river workers. Shinto priests would perform a ritual on the waterways offering lanterns as offerings for the boatmens safety. As the festival falls on the Japanese holiday of Obon, which celebrates the dead, they added a Buddhist custom of floating individual lanterns in commemoration of people who have passed away in the preceding 12 months.
The festival is held in the evening of August 15th from about 5 pm, with the fireworks display around 7.15 pm.
2019 information on the official website
From the Nagatoro Tourist website
Things to do in Nagatoro Chichibu
The Iwadatami area is located close to Mt Hodo, the Nagatoro Ropeway and the famous Hodosan shrine, to name but a few of the local attractions.
You will find a comprehensive list of things to do in the Nagatoro area on the official tourism English website (click here).
Getting to the Nagatoro Funadama Festival
You can get to the Iwadatami area of Nagatoro on the Chichibu railway. The Iwadatami, layers of rock, are located five minutes from the Nagatoro station.
By car, the area is an approximate 30 minute drive from the Hanazono Interchange of the Kanetsu Expressway.
Need a break after a long commute before going to the festival? Right beside Hanazono Interchange there are two places you can grab a bite to eat and “refresh”…
- Hanazono Roadside station
- Hanazono Forest (Sweet themed rest area)
Where to stay
Nagatoro Autocamp is a family friendly campsite with various accommodation options located close to Nagatoro station and relatively close to the Funadama festival.
The Waterpark Nagatoro is also relatively close with tent and cabin options.