[Special Feature] O-no-aida Onsen Festival: The Story of Nebuta Float Creation

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“The members of ”jyagaimonoouchi” came together to create a lively ‘Nebuta’ float for the local festival.”

Nebuta and the O-no-aida Onsen Festival Connection

Grateful for the warmth that envelops both our hearts and bodies at O-no-aida Onsen, the O-no-aida Onsen Festival is a spirited gathering of the entire O-no-aida community.

Wondering if there was something we could contribute to the festivities, we raised our hands, and from the 10th edition of the festival, we started creating Nebuta floats. This year marks the 25th edition. While there were challenging times, the joy of crafting Nebuta together has been a delightful journey for all of us.

Nebuta Crafting with jyagaimonoouchi

Nebuta, a traditional illuminated float, is a collaborative creation that involves people of all abilities.

Festival preparations kick off more than a month in advance. Practices and preparations for the dedicated dances proceed into the night, signaling the commencement of the festivities.

The process of crafting Nebuta starts with conceptualization, moves through design and model construction, and eventually progresses to the fabrication of the main structure. While the initial skeleton is assembled by experienced hands, the subsequent stages involve everyone in the community, particularly in the paper application phase.

the task of applying paper during Nebuta crafting is divided among participants based on their individual abilities. Those with limited mobility handle the glue, others cut the paper, some transport the glued paper, and each person contributes according to their unique strengths. Once the paper application is complete, the next step is the coloring process, a role often taken up by those who enjoy painting.

It’s an inclusive and collaborative process. As the days pass, the shape of the Nebuta takes form, a creation shared by everyone. On the day of the festival, the entire community comes together to pull the Nebuta through the village, welcoming spectators at the festival venue.

As the festival unfolds, the glow of the Nebuta becomes a mesmerizing sight. The sensation is indescribable. Working collectively to elevate the festivities, we continue crafting Nebuta, cherishing the joy of bringing the festival to life for everyone.

Why the Dragon Nebuta?

Adjacent to O-no-aida Onsen, there is a hot spring shrine called Onsen Shrine. Enshrined in this shrine is the deity ‘Komahime Ryuujin Daijin,’ the Dragon. Occasionally diverging but always returning to the path, the dragon is a symbol. The Dragon Deity is a water deity, and Yakushima, with its flowing waters, is a fitting island for such symbolism.

As a token of gratitude to the O-no-aida village, we at Potato House aspire to continue enlivening the community with Nebuta for a long time. This is our heartfelt wish.

Moreover, we hope that Nebuta crafting becomes a space not only for us but also for many others to engage and create together. With this aspiration, we look forward to taking on the challenge of crafting new Nebuta next year.

In the upcoming year, we aim to create Nebuta that brings joy to everyone, sparks the desire to capture the moment in a photograph, and resonates with the community. We are seeking support through donations to make this vision a reality. With the funds collected, we hope to transition from fluorescent lights to LED lights next year. Your support is immensely appreciated.

Thank you for embracing Nebuta with your hearts. Both the dragon and we are delighted.