The resilient residents of Hita, Oita Prefecture, didn't let the recent torrential rains and flooding that forced massive evacuations here put a damper on a gathering of eight "yamaboko" floats on July 19.
Residents turned out en masse to enjoy a spectacular night view of the lit floats assembled near Hita Station, in a preview of the city's traditional summer festival.
When lanterns attached to the floats were lit, they dramatically illuminated the towering and elaborately decorated platforms against the cloudy night sky.
The floats, four each from the Mameda and Kuma-Takeda districts, were pulled through the streets to the accompaniment of “gion-bayashi” traditional music and gathered in a square in front of the station.
The local Mameda district retains the appearance and feel of a streetscape from the Edo Period (1603-1867).
The gathering of the floats could have been cancelled due to the heavy rains that deluged the city on several occasions in July, but the go-ahead was given to lift the spirits of residents.
In Hita, riverbanks were breached at more than 30 locations during the recent torrential rains, causing massive flooding. Evacuation orders were issued to some 34,000 residents at the peak of flooding, but the districts owning the floats suffered only relatively minor damage.
The Hita Gion festival, designated an important intangible cultural treasure, will be held on July 21 and 22.
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