The 3rd week of August, mainly the period from Aug. 13th to 15th, is called “O Bon” in Japan. It’s said that the soul of ancestors come back to their descendant in this period and descendants operate events by which they welcome ancestors’ soul and get them back to their world after the period ends. The word “bon” literary means a tray in Japanese and I hear that the name of this period came from a tray people used in old days to serve foods, flowers etc for their ancestors.

When the “O Bon” ends, people have to return the ancestors’ soul to where they’re belonging to now. The most style of the returning event is to throw paper lanterns into rivers. Why fire ? It’s said that fire purifies their soul or fire lights up the way back.

In Morioka, life-sized boats made by paper are used instead of normal paper lanterns for the send-back event and it’s called “Funekko Nagashi”. “funekko” is Morioka-regional dialect of “fune” and means a boat. “nagashi” means to throw into river and the name just shows what it is.

I could not go to see, to take pictures of “Funekko Nagashi” this year but I found the official site of “Funekko Nagashi” and there are some photos (Japanese language only). And here is a link to a photographers’ site (Japanese language only) which is introduced in the “Funekko Nagashi” official site. You can find tons of much better photos than that I sometimes post here 🙂

“Morioka Funekko Nagashi” event includes a lot of fireworks. I really wish I were able to go see it. Next year, maybe.