Usuki Takeyoi

Three Local Festivals that Illuminate and Celebrate Oita’s Famous Bamboo

Oita Prefecture is renowned as japan‘s top producer of madake, or Japanese timber bamboo. To honor and celebrate this rich heritage, the region hosts several local festivals that showcase the versatility and beauty of bamboo. Among these festivals are Usuki Takeyoi in Usuki City, Taketa Chikuraku in Taketa City, and Sen’nen-Akari in Hita City. These events, held in November, provide visitors with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture and traditions surrounding bamboo in Oita Prefecture.

Usuki Takeyoi – The Celebration of Princess Hannyahime:
Usuki Takeyoi takes place during the first week of November and revolves around lighting bamboo to guide the soul of Princess Hannyahime to her parents. This festival places great importance on the creation of lanterns and art objects made from bamboo, a process that begins in August with the cutting of bamboo in the mountains. The local community, including schools, businesses, and the government, collaborates to create these intricate lanterns and artworks. The illuminated bamboo structures create a magical atmosphere as they light up the streets, providing a captivating sight for visitors.

Taketa Chikuraku – The Castle Festival:
Taketa Chikuraku is a three-day festival held in mid-November, where the castle town of Taketa is adorned with 20,000 bamboo lanterns. The festival’s highlight is the moment when these lanterns are lit at sunset, creating a breathtaking display of vibrant colors. The castle’s historic architecture serves as a stunning backdrop for the illuminated bamboo, offering a unique blend of traditional and contemporary aesthetics. Visitors can explore the narrow streets of Taketa, basking in the warm glow of the lanterns and immersing themselves in the festive ambiance.

Sen’nen-Akari – A River of Lanterns:
Sen’nen-Akari, hosted in November, transforms the Kagetsu River in Mameda town into a mesmerizing spectacle of light. Approximately 30,000 bamboo lanterns are strategically placed along the river, illuminating its banks and creating a magical atmosphere. Visitors can wander along the riverside, marveling at the beautiful reflections of the lanterns on the water’s surface. The festival also features various events and activities held in Mameda, providing opportunities for cultural immersion and interaction with the local community.

How to Get There:
Oita Station serves as the main hub for accessing these festivals. The station is well-connected by the Kyudai, Hohi, and Nippo main lines, offering convenient transportation options for visitors. For Usuki Takeyoi, a 38-minute ride on the limited express train from Oita Station to Usuki Station on the JR Main Nippo Line is required. Taketa Chikuraku is accessible by taking the JR Hohi Line from Oita Station for approximately 80 minutes and getting off at Bungo-Taketa Station. To reach Sen’nen-Akari, visitors can take the Kyudai Line from Oita Station and alight at Hita Station.

Oita Prefecture’s local festivals dedicated to bamboo, such as Usuki Takeyoi, Taketa Chikuraku, and Sen’nen-Akari, offer a unique opportunity to witness the rich cultural heritage and artistic excellence of the region. These festivals not only showcase the beauty of bamboo but also highlight the collaborative spirit of the local community. Visitors can immerse themselves in the enchanting atmosphere created by the illuminated bamboo structures and experience the warmth and hospitality of Oita Prefecture. Whether it’s witnessing the soulful journey of Princess Hannyahime, marveling at the vibrant colors of Taketa’s lanterns, or strolling along the river adorned with thousands of lanterns in Sen’nen-Akari, these festivals promise an unforgettable experience that celebrates the timeless allure of bamboo. So, if you find yourself in Oita Prefecture in November, be sure to catch these extraordinary events and witness the magic that unfolds when bamboo takes center stage.

Address And Maps Location:

Kaizoe, Usuki-shi, Oita-ken

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