By Tamarah Scott,
Hidden in the mountains of Ogi town, in Saga Ken, is Kiyomizu falls. Once a year the valley leading up to the waterfall is illuminated with Approximately 10,000 awe-inspiring bamboo lanterns. The event is called “Kiyomizu Bamboo Light Festival”-清水竹灯り(Kiyomizu Take Akari). Using bamboo as their medium, lots of local artists carve beautiful imagery and create sculptures. Many illuminations happen around Saga this time of year but these particular bamboo illuminations run from Nov.15th to Nov.23rd.
You take the train to the quant Ogi station and then a bus or taxi up through the mountains (Approx. 5 minutes). The entrance fee is ¥500. The valley is filled with beautiful bamboo lanterns cut to either create images or lights revealing the autumn leaves of the forest. The candle light casts a magical glow, rather than a harsh buzz of electric bulbs used in most illuminations around this time of year.
Starting from the bottom and you work your way up admiring the art. A very warm community feel lies here. I saw families laughing with elderly grandparents to lovers giggling, as they took photos by the heart shape lanterns. A particular favorite part of mine was near the waterfall is a big gazebo. Sitting in there where lots of handmade paper lanterns decorated by children of the Ogi community.
After your wanderings, you can head down to an eating area with a big log fire. Everyone’s bright faces, warmed by the fire, are seen indulging on Nekumon (only ¥100) and mekan (only ¥200 a bag). If you get the chance to visit the Kiyomizu falls in Ogi city I highly recommend it. Also keep an eye out for more bamboo illuminations in Saga Ken! They are delightful and show the true sense of this warm community.
*Cover photo credit goes to Shelby Lake.