I just came up with a newspaper article about Yuwaku Onsen town near Kanazawa drawing a lot of people in their new festival Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri. The festival began as an imaginary festival in the popular animated series Hanasaku Iroha as a festival of showing directions to the (deceased) girl's spirit returning to god's country with the guidance of lit lanterns (Bombori) with wishes written on them. The actual onsen town, Yuwaku Onsen, in which the anime story is set (as Yunosagi Onsen), had suffered from floods in the past year and decided to start up a new festival from scratch adapted from the anime and the forthcoming film. Last year around 5,000 fans flocked the town, and lately this year 7,000 fans gathered to the Yukawa Bonbori Festival.
Bombori Matsuri: http://www.yuwaku.gr.jp/bonbori/index-b.html
Yuwaku Onsen: http://www.yuwaku.gr.jp/
Hanasaku Iroha: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanasaku_Iroha
I haven't seen this anime, which looks like a good slice-of-life growing up-through-work drama, of an abandoned highschool girl from Tokyo working in a Taisho-era old onsen ryokan (a sort of Miyazaki's Spirited Away in the real life kind of series, I guess), but I thought that this festival generating story might prove interesting for people going to Kanazawa, who might just take an interest in Japanese animated films and onsen.
The anime was put forward as a candidate by the Ministry of Culture Media Arts Festival Animation Prize, so it should be fairly appropriate to watch with kids.
Google translated article: translate.google.co.jp/translate…