The Matsushima Bon Festival of the Sea was held on August 15th and 16th of 2015. Obon is a Japanese Buddhist period when Japanese families honor the spirits of their ancestors. Reinvented after the disasters of 2011, this festival featured traditional local dances, the floating of paper lanterns in Matsushima Bay, many vendors and food stalls, and fireworks over the bay. This year’s festival included a special opportunity for foreign guests to wear yukata, a light summer kimono.
More than 30 foreigners from Russia, the United States, Europe, China and more danced and took photos while wearing their yukata with beautiful Matsushima Bay as the backdrop. The festival ended with a centuries-old tradition. Priests from Matsushima’s renowned Zuiganji Temple were joined by top Buddhist priest from temples across northern Japan. They held a special procession from the temple to the bay where their chanted prayers filled the air around the waterfront.