In the 2011 anime series Hanasaku Iroha the last two episodes feature the Bonbori Lantern Festival. But, did you know the Bonbori Festival really exists?

When the anime studio P.A. Works released its hit series Hanasaku Iroha in 2011, plans were made to bring the fictional Bonbori Lantern Festival into the real world at the Yuwaku Onsen Resort. Just after Hanasaku Iroha finished airing in Japan in September 2011 the first Bonbori Festival took place. Now, in it’s seventh year, people form all across Japan and the world come to experience the beautiful Festival. We were at the Festival this year and here are some of the highlights

We saw a few cosplayers around the festival all dressed as the main characters from Hanasaku Iroha.

Minko Tsurugi and Nako Oshimizu from Hanasaku Iroha. Cosplayers: Kabu and Rei

Ohana Matsumae from Hanasaku Iroha. Cosplayer: Shigure

Yuina Wakura from Hanasaku Iroha. Cosplayer: Neru

Minko Tsurugi, Ohana Matsumae, and Nako Oshimizu from Hanazaku Iroha. Cosplayers: Michio, Toreko, and Aoi

Before the Festivals procession to Lake Gokusenko began we were able to see the Yuwakuinari Shrine—the main shrine of the Festival—see people place their wish talismans into a palanquin, and checkout the different lanterns.

The procession to Lake Gyokusenko includes Shinto Priests, local children, and members of the Festivals planning committee. They take the talismans to the Lake to be ritually burned so everyone’s wish can be granted.

At Lake Gyokusenko, a Shinto Priest prepares the ritual bonfire. When it’s finally lit, it’s as if we’re living out the final episode of Hanasaku Iroha.

 Hanasaku Iroha is streaming on Crunchyroll.

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