Kiriko Lantern Festival Kicks Off in Noto, Ishikawa Pref.; Parade Helps Boost Enthusiasm for Post-Earthquake Reconstruction

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kiriko floats are lit by torches in Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Friday evening.

NOTO, Ishikawa — The two-day traditional Abare Festival kicked off Saturday in the town of Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture, which was severely damaged by this year’s Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

About 30 giant kiriko lantern floats paraded through the Ushitsu district, which still bears the scars of the Jan. 1 disaster. In the evening, the six-meter-tall floats gathered in a square near the town’s harbor, where torches were raised up to light their lanterns. The participants’ heroic chants echoed in the air, boosting enthusiasm for rebuilding the quake-hit area.

With many residents having evacuated the district, four of its 36 community associations gave up on taking part in the traditional festival due to a lack of float carriers. Some other municipalities in the prefecture had to cancel or scale back their kiriko processions scheduled for this summer.