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Nagasaki Shoronagashi Festival (Spirit Boat Festival)

What will you come up with if you hear the word “summer festival”?

There is a unique festival in Nagasaki! It is called Nagasaki Shoronagashi ( Spirit Boat Festival).

It is taken place in 15th August every year.

Do you know what Shoronagash (精霊流し) is ?

‘In Buddism the spirits of the dead are believed to return to their earthly homes on August 13,  stay for three days and then depart for heaven again on the night of August 15. In Nagasaki, families that lost a relative during the previous year make “spirit boats” with many lanterns to carry the spirit to heaven. Hundreds of elaborate boat-like floats pulled by families and friends make a pared through the city toward the harbor front at Ohato. The procession is accompanies by the din of firecrackers, a custom borrow from the Chinese residents of Nagasaki.’

(reference: Your Guide to Nagasaki)

I also went to look at the spirit boats in Ohato. It is just 5 minutes away from Casa Noda! So it was easy access! Ohato is the main street many spirits boats pass.

It begins around 5p.m.

There are variety of boats. The orthodox spirits boat is like this!

It has many lanterns on its sides and a photo in front. It also has a flag written “西方丸”(Seihou-maru). It because buddhists think Sukhavati (Amitabh’s Pure Land) exists in the west. So all the spirits boats are going to the west.


Each family created each original boat for their deceased. For example, look at this!!


精霊ぶね 電車
This was a train motif . Probably the deceased liked trains.


Next one is this!


精霊船 車
We could guess their deceased liked cars.


If the deceased are sent with these gorgeous boat, they should be happy!!


The biggest one was this!!

This boat was from a funeral company.

The boat was raised fund from all of bereaved family. That’s why it was very big and so may people were pushing it all together.


There were many boats floating. Then I realized that many people died in previous year.

In this year, one of Japanese famous singer from Nagasaki built a boat and carried it around for his mother’s spirt.

When the boat was passing a street, people started to surrounding the boat in the twinkling of an eye, and people was trying to find the singer out. It was crazy!!


Unfortunately I didn’t know whether he was there or not.

But the boat was really gorgeous and captured everyone’s eye in one moment!


In Nagasaki, there are TV programs explain about the boats which pass the main street, 15th August, every year.

There is a old man talks about whose boat and how he feels with a boat. It is very unique and interesting. It is broadcasted only in Nagasaki.

After watching Shoronagashi festival, I get to like Nagasaki more and more! Even though it was not the first time for me to join. Nagasaki is a very interesting place and I think everyday we can find something new or make us intrigued.

Next big event should be Okunchi Festival in October! It is the most favorite festival for me in Nagasaki!!

If you want to visit Nagasaki, it must be amazing experience for you, so please come to see our real Nagasaki life^^


During Okunchi Festival, many people are visiting Nagasaki, so many rooms will be booked out!

We still have vacancy in dormitories. So if you are interested in Okunchi Festival, please contact us^^


Casa Noda Yuri