The stone lantern festival takes place on Mure Gempei Road near Yashima in Takamatsu every August and September. In 2010 it was held from July 31st to September 20th.
Hundreds of stone lanterns light the street daily from dusk until 10pm. They are mostly outside people’s houses and it is completely free to view them. This is the 2010 English poster.
If you can’t read the details the nearest station is Yakuri is on the Kotoden Shido Line. If you are travelling on the JR Kotoku Line you can get off at Furutakamatsu-Minami station, but the walk will be further.
There are a large variety of lanterns, from elaborate to very simple ones like this face.
Quite a number of the lanterns had an animal theme. Here is a mouse waiting by some illuminated cheese.
Visitors who visited earlier in the month than I did were able to vote on their favourite lanterns and stone sculptures. The first prize was this dog looking up towards the light.
Here are the 2nd and 3rd place winners.
And the 4th and 5th placed lanterns. If you are wondering what the connection is between the moon and the rabbit, it is because of a Japanese folklore about a rabbit (Jade Rabbit) that lives on the moon.
This fishing scene contains a real goldfish.
Powering all these lights must use a fair bit of electricity so they had some information about what they are doing to reduce the power consumption. They use solar panels to collect power during the day, and the lanterns are lit with LED lights.
The lanterns are made out of locally produced Aji stone. You can see some of the stone factories along the route.
If you fancy buying one of these stone lanterns you can. They have brochures that you can pick up listing the lanterns and the prices. Some are very expensive and can go for a several hundred thousand yen. Cheaper ones can be bought for under 50 thousand yen.
If that is too expensive for you there are stalls along the route selling smaller lights. There are also food and drink stalls.
If you are in Takamatsu during August and September then make sure you visit. You should allow an hour or two to walk along the road and back again. If you aren’t in Takamatsu at this time you can find a number of simpler stone lanterns by Tamamo Castle near the Sunport area of the city. Enjoy the rest of the photos.
Here is the link for the official Mure Gempei Road page.