Lasting three weeks from late January into February, the Lantern Festival in Nagasaki celebrates the Chinese New Year in style. Thousands upon thousands of carefully crafted paper lanterns adorn the streets and shopping arcades during this time. There are eight hot spots where the visual smorgasbord is most delicious, the three most prominent being Chuo Park, Minato Park, and China Town (of course). With only one full night at the festival, I stayed solely in Chinatown and didn’t feel like I was missing a thing.
During the day there are various performances and celebrations that are apparently quite interesting, however I didn’t see these due to time constraints and interest in other areas of the city such the atomic bomb memorials and the legendary samurai Sakamoto Ryoma statue that overlooks the city.
It was really fun to see the city transform when the sun went down. Although the lanterns were gorgeous in the daylight, they had a whole different energy when they were all aglow. I definitely felt a little giddy and child-like running from one cool lantern to the next.