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Kobe’s Spectacular Light Festival Returns for First Time in 4 Years with New Venues

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The light corridor in Chuo Ward, Kobe, on Friday

The Kobe Luminarie festival, which commemorates the victims of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, opened Friday in Chuo Ward, Kobe. The festival returned for the first time in four years after a hiatus due to the pandemic. To alleviate congestion, there is now an admission fee for the popular light corridor, venues are dispersed, and the event period has been changed from December to January. The festival will continue until Jan. 28.

Approximately 340,000 light bulbs were lit across ten venues in Chuo Ward at 6 p.m. A 70-meter-long light corridor at the main venue in Meriken Park elicited loud cheers from the crowd.

A 66-year-old resident from Kobe’s Kita Ward, whose home was damaged in the Great Hanshin Earthquake, has visited the festival every year and found courage in it, saying, “These lights seem to convey that, like Kobe, the earthquake-affected areas of the Noto Peninsula can definitely be rebuilt.”

The light corridor, previously set up at Higashi Yuenchi Park and free to enter, was relocated and now costs ¥500 with a pre-sale ticket and ¥1,000 on the day. This change was made to improve the financial difficulties of the organizing committee.