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Known as “little Kyoto” because of its similarities with the old capital, Ogi has many sites that attract visitors! In the mountains on the outskirts of Ogi, Kiyomizu Waterfall (清水の滝) flows. A sacred site for the past 1500 years, which mirrors the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. Here we can visit a shrine built on the mountainside and the nearby Otowa waterfall.
Every year, in the autumn, the “little Kyôto” of Kyushu organizes a festival of illuminated lanterns, a magical event after dark.
The Lantern Festival in Ogi
Although it is a lesser known place among foreign tourists, Ogi is so charming in autumn that it cannot be missed. Once a year, at the end of November, the valley leading to the waterfall is decorated with 10,000 illuminated bamboo lanterns, a wonderful show that creates an almost supernatural atmosphere. The event, called 清水竹灯り (Kiyomizu Take Akari), which begins in the evening, is a real theater of lights; totally enchanting.
Local artists carefully prepare for the lanterns by digging figurative cavities. By varying the diameter and length of the bamboo stems and assembling them according to the desired effect, they create the illusion of being sculptures or illuminated paintings. These light scenes are of various inspirations (Japanese traditional motifs, urban landscapes, or entirely original creations). A different decoration is obtained by the grouping of bamboo canes on a shimmering path, exploiting the intrinsic beauty of the site and the material.
The subdued and flickering lighting of the lanterns enhances the splendor of the sacred place, revealing it in a flash the changing tints of the surrounding nature.
The beautiful colors that fall trees display in autumn throughout Japan, are due to the significant differences in temperature. Still comfortable in the day but very cool after dark. The temperature is much lower at this altitude, but everything is planned to make this unique moment as pleasant as possible. Around a big fire, visitors are invited to warm with little steaming dishes offered by yatai; yatai are the Japanese ancestors of modern food trucks! Enjoy toasted sweet potatoes, miso soup and steamed buns, among others, in a very friendly atmosphere.
By train :
To get to the Ogi Lantern Festival from Saga Station, take the JR Karatsu Line bound for Nihishikaratsu. Get off at Ogi Station.
A free bus service will take you from the stop east of Ogi Park (a 10-minute walk from the station) to Kiyomizu Take Akari.
By car :
Ogi is 25 minutes from the Saga Yamato IC interchange on the Nagasaki expressway, via Route 48.
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|Name||Kiyomizu Take Akari|
|Address||Japon 〒845-0004 Saga-ken, Ogi-shi, Ogimachi Matsuo, Kiyomizu|
Japon 〒845-0004 Saga-ken, Ogi-shi, Ogimachi Matsuo, Kiyomizu
|Opening Hours||18:00-21:30, during Nov 18-26, 2017|
Original article by Alix Durantou