We were invited to a lot of festivals recently, and we go to quite a few of them throughout the year, but the Mino Paper Lantern Festival will always have a special place in our hearts.

Women dressed in Yukata exiting a station
Mino is a small town in the middle of Gifu prefecture. It’s already quite popular as a tourist destination due to its historical charm, but once a year, for the Paper Lantern Festival or 秋の祭り見学, it transforms into a nighttime wonderland combining a serene atmosphere with incredible art.

Washi or Japanese paper, is a delicate, painstaking and patient art of processing raw materials, and then pressing, drying, separating and cutting the pieces to fit various needs. This can only be done effectively by hand by very skilled tradesmen/women. Those who have developed the skills not only make Washi sheets for commercial use but have also gone on to create modern art. One encouraged and celebrated form of Washi art is the “akari” art or Washi lamps.

These paper lanterns are carefully crafted, presented around town, and judged on their creativity and beauty. Over 700 artists from all over Japan participate in this annual event.

If you’re in Japan around this time next year (usually beginning or middle of October), this event is not to be missed. Check out the video below to see some of our impressions from the festival last night!

Video shot and edited by our newest contributor, Don Whigan. If you want to check out more of his beautiful work, hop on his instagram @donwhigan.photography and leave him a like and follow.

Till next time!