Tottori: Lantern Performance Derived from Akita Fascinates Spectators

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People perform with bamboo poles with lanterns on them during the Yonago Gaina Festival in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, in August.

YONAGO, Tottori — Arrays of lanterns on bamboo poles dazzled spectators as bearers hoisted them in August at the Yonago Gaina Festival in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture.

Gaina means “big” in the local dialect, and the term applies to the festival as well: Some poles were 10 meters tall with 46 lanterns attached to them.

Spectators applauded loudly when the bearers lifted their poles and placed them on their shoulders or hips.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the summer event, but it was not until 1986 that the performance of bamboo poles with lanterns became part of the festival. Organizers took a cue from the Akita Kanto Festival in Akita and introduced the pole performances, hoping to make them the highlight of the event.

This year’s festival featured 35 bamboo poles and started at the main venue in front of JR Yonago Station. Drum performances and dance shows added to the festive mood.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, a large inflatable Yonago Castle was set up at the site of Yonago Castle Ruins.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A large inflatable Yonago Castle is seen at the site of Yonago Castle Ruins.