Updated at 2023-05-23
Although golden lanterns seem metallic and heavy, they are light because they are made entirely from paper and glue. They are worn on the heads of thousands of women during the Yamaga Lantern Festival in August each year as they perform the iconic slow summer dance. Legend has it that the festival is a re-enactment of how the locals lit torches for Emperor Keikō, who encountered dense fog while passing through Yamaga some two millennia ago. Thereafter, it became customary for the locals of Yamaga to place lit candles at their local shrines yearly. During the Muromachi period, the candles were gradually replaced with golden lanterns, and performances shared by women wearing yukata and lantern headpieces were popularized.
Area: 7,410 square kilometers
Population: Approx. 1,720,000
Main industries/features: Agriculture. Famous for Mount Aso, which is the largest active volcano in Japan.