Fukui City, Illumination From the 23rd at Mount Asuwa
Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Fukui Sakura Festival in Fukui Prefecture’s Fukui City was suspended; however, paper lanterns for the evening illumination will still be mounted on the cherry blossom trees this year. The installations of lights onto the row of cherry trees along Asuwa River was completed on March 21st; and from March 23rd, Mount Asuwa will also be lit up.
208 paper lanterns were set up by the Asuwa River Paper Lantern Story Executive Committee, a group created by the local residents south of the bridge, on the row of cherry trees along the south bank of Asuwa River, stretching from the Sakura Bridge to the Tsukumo Bridge. First-year students from Meirin, Meido, Koyo, and Kawanishi junior high schools wrote tankas (“short poems”) on Japanese paper to fix onto the lanters, taking passages from “Komagin”, a collection of tankas by Akemi Tachibana, a poet from the end of the Edo period, with each passage beginning with, “Joy is akin to…”
Light installations began on March 14th; on March 21st, the final 30 lanterns were installed by the executive committee and members of “SAKU-Light”, an idol group with a focus on supporting traditional crafts.
“The planned event was suspended, but I hope that everyone can enjoy the scenery of paper lanterns mounted on the row of cherry trees,” said the executive committee chief (aged 25), as the buds of the cherry blossoms continue to expand. The lanterns will use solar-powered LEDs, and remain installed until April 11th.
At Mount Asuwa, the “Sakura Illumination Association”, an organization created by local Asuwa residents, solicited aid from businesses and individuals, becoming able to set up 325 lanterns. This year, photos of animals from the Asuwayama Amusement Park were pasted onto the lanterns, and kindergartners from the local childcare centre affixed stickers of cherry blossoms, as fresh ideas for the occasion.
“Almost all group reservations at this shop have been cancelled, but I hope there will still be visitors to see the cherry blossoms at Mount Asuwa,” said the head (aged 70) of “Nakamuraya”, a tea house operating at Mount Asuwa. The illumination will begin from March 23rd until April 30th, between 6:00 p.m. and midnight. The illumination at Atagozaka will also be lit up, until April 7th.