Colorful hot-air balloons lifted off Friday into the clear sky along the banks of the Kase River in the city of Saga as the annual Saga International Balloon Fiesta started amid a forecast for favorable weather conditions.

In all, 112 balloons from 15 countries, 83 from Japan and five from the U.S., took part in the annual event, the 30th so far, according to spokesman Kaoru Kawasoe. Other countries the balloonists came from include Britain, France, Germany, as well as China and South Korea.

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