/

Nagasaki lights up for the Chinese New Year

by Jun Hongo

Staff Writer

Enjoy the Chinese New Year celebration in style at the Nagasaki Lantern Festival 2014, which kicks off on Jan. 31 and runs for two weeks in the city’s Chinatown and surrounding areas.

After Portuguese ships arrived at its shores in 1571, Nagasaki became a major trading port in Japan, and parts of it remained open to foreign trade even during the Edo Period (1603-1868) sakoku (closed-country) policy. Today, as an international city, it’s home to one of the three biggest Chinatowns in Japan, the others being in Yokohama and Kobe.

The highlight of this new year celebration is a display of 15,000 colorful Chinese lanterns, which will line the streets of Chinatown and Chuo Koen park and light the way to the Kofukuji Temple.

On Feb. 1 and Feb. 8, a parade of people dressed in traditional Chinese costumes, including a palaquin carrying kids dressed as the Chinese Emperor and Empress, will walk through the city, while on Feb. 2 and Feb. 9, a workshop where you can make your own lantern will be available.

Don’t forget to also check out this year’s giant decorative lanterns, scheduled to go on display at the city’s Minato Koen park and other locations.

The Nagasaki Lantern Festival 2014 takes place between Jan. 31 and Feb. 14 at Nagasaki’s Chinatown in Shinchi and surrounding areas. Start times of events vary. For more information, call 095-829-1314 or visit www.nagasaki-lantern.com.