One of the grandest lantern-floating events in this region. The Toro Nagashi lantern floating and fireworks are held on the famous and historic pine tree beach called Kehi no Matsubara (気比の松原), a National Scenic Site (名勝) in the city of Tsuruga. It’s held annually on August 16. (Sadly, it was canceled in 2019 due to a typhoon and canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.)
I saw it in 2017. It’s a brilliant combination of fire displays. Great eye candy at night. The lantern floating is candle-lit paper lanterns floated on the ocean (Sea of Japan) as a Buddhist offering to the spirits of the deceased. Anybody can buy and float a lantern for ¥500. They come in red, yellow, and blue. It has a straw base, bamboo frame, wax candle, paper, and matches. The lantern is printed with “Memorial for All Ancestors” (先祖代々之霊位). You can also write a remembrance message on the paper. They sold 6,000 floating lanterns.
The lantern floating started at 6:30 pm while Buddhist priests chanted over the PA system. People lit their lanterns and set it on the water from the beach. Some crashed back on the beach, but others floated away. Beautiful sight at night.
The lantern floating ended at around 7:30 pm. The fireworks then started, lasting for about 70 min. World-class fireworks. Brilliant show as the fireworks also reflected on the water. Finale was fantastic too. About 190,000 spectators. This event charged ¥2,000 admission for reserved seating on the beach (folding chairs). It was worth it. Highly recommended when it’s not canceled.
Tsuruga is a small coastal city (pop. 65,400) facing the Sea of Japan. It will open a Hokuriku shinkansen station in late 2022. People can then travel to Kanazawa faster.
Closest station is JR Tsuruga Station. Free shuttle buses run from JR Tsuruga Station to near the beach.