Yanai Goldfish Lantern Festival

A unique lantern festival in Yamaguchi

Kim   - 2 min read
Venue : JR Yanai Station and Shirakabe no Machi When : Mid Aug 2023

The small city of Yanai in Yamaguchi Prefecture is famous for its lanterns, but they're a little different to many lanterns you've likely seen in the past. The lanterns here are shaped like goldfish, and you'll see them displayed outside shops, restaurants, and even personal residences in the area.

The unique lanterns are said to have first been created by a Yanai merchant in the Edo period who was said to have been inspired by lanterns at Aomori's Hirosaki Neputa Festival, and the rest is history.

Photo: Yamaguchi Prefecture

An annual festival takes place in August to celebrate Yanai's longstanding tradition, with numerous goldfish lanterns decorating the JR Yanai Station and Shirakabe no Machi areas. As this year is the event's first return since the COVID era, it will be held on a smaller scale than in previous iterations – the usual fireworks and traditional dancing won't be held for 2022.

Getting there

The event takes place around the JR Yanai Station and Shirakabe no Machi areas. The station is served by the Sanyo Main Line.

For those who opt to drive, the event venue is around 20 minutes from the Sanyo Expressway's Kuga IC.


Kim @kim.b

Perma-expat, fan of gardens, flowers, teahouses, cute food, road trips, and writing lists. 📝