People dressed in Chinese costumes maneuver a 20-meter-long dragon as part of a performance called "Jaodori" ("Dragon Dance") during the Nagasaki Kunchi festival at Suwa Shrine in Nagasaki, on Oct. 7, 2019. (Mainichi/Minoru Kanazawa)

Lively 'Nagasaki Kunchi' festival underway at west Japan shrine

NAGASAKI -- Nagasaki Kunchi, a traditional festival designated by the national government as an important intangible folk cultural asset, kicked off at Suwa Shrine and other locations in this southwestern Japan city on Oct. 7.
Five districts in the city hosted unique performances, fascinating local spectators and visitors from outside Nagasaki Prefecture.

Districts in the city of Nagasaki participate in the festival on a rotation basis -- once every seven years. Floats appearing in this year's festival include one shaped like a Dutch ship that traveled between the Netherlands and Nagasaki in the Edo period (1603-1868). Moreover, those dressed in Chinese costumes maneuvered a 20-meter-long dragon in a performance called "Jaodori" ("Dragon Dance"), attracting a great deal of attention from spectators. After the performances ended, some spectators shouted, "Mottekoi," meaning "encore."

Nagasaki Kunchi, Suwa Shrine's autumn festival, boasts more than 380 years of history dating back to the Edo period. The event lasts until Oct. 9. During the celebration, the city is filled with a lively atmosphere as festival music is played.