Addendum. Candles and fireworks: Yoru Ume Matsuri in Kairakuen (part 3)

It’s already more than three weeks ago, time flies these days. Lots of events, graduation, people leaving, publishing paper, and work kept me quite busy, so I was not able to post this earlier. And now the new students have arrived. I still hope you’ll enjoy a few impressions from the spectacular Yoru Ume Matsuri in Kairakuen.

It’s the first highlight of the year with lots of people coming to Kairakuen. You can wander around the big park where several special trees are lit up festively. In the last years a few candles showed the way through the plum tree forest, but the popularity of the event is also is enemy, since more and more people flock to the park. It’s still not Tokyo, but maybe close.
A few things happen in parallel in the park. Unfortunately the hours are almost to short to take in everything. You will find the usual food vendors in front of the park and Tokiwa Jinja. A special festive food court is in the lower part of the park. They have everything, ranging from pizza to sausages on a stick, turkey drum stick, fries, all the way to ramen. Draft beer, hot and cold sake, as well as coffee and tea are served, too. But for any such events it is quite common to bring your own drinks. Sweets of various kind are also available. It’s without seeing anything else a wonderful night out.
Apart from the various specialities, the park undergoes a spectacular transformation. What is pure nature at day is some kind of art installment at night. Many trees are highlighted with special, in part colourful, lights. Other parts of the park remain completely dark. The big meadows are covered in candles and people. Even a long walk between modernized, but traditional looking lanterns is now part of the festival. Three hours is hardly enough to take it all in. While I know from previous visits, that Kobuntei is also equipped with artful lanterns, we had to skip it this year dues to time issues. It also appeared quite crowded, which was another point to consider.
The last act of the festival is a rather brief fireworks display. In order to have a good view, you need to be in the right spot at the right time. With the necessary preparation – that I was able to do this time around – you know where to go, but you have to be there early. Everything worked out in our favour, but I still think that time passed as double as fast as usual.

While I really tried to go back to the park during the daytime, I was unfortunately too busy to do so. Therefore this concludes the mini series about the Ume Matsuri. If I ever find the time and the pictures from the previous year, I will certainly write about it again. However, it has been a wonderful time and experience again and if you happen to be in the area in March (in the future), I wholeheartedly recommend going to Kairakuen.


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