Hamamatsu Kite Festival

Pictured above as the Hamamatsu Kite Festival, which takes place every year between the 3rd and 5th of May on the sandy dunes of Nakatajima near Hamamatsu city.

Dating back to the 16th century, the festival sees 100s of large kites measuring 3.5 meters by 3.5 meters take to the skies, flown by teams of local flyers. When a trumpet sounds, it’s a cue for the the “fighting” to start. Making the 5-mm thick hemp strings intertwine, the kite-fliers try to cut their opponents’ strings through the power of friction. With a pop, the strings begin to burn, giving off a scorched smell and occasional wisps of smoke into the air. Truly an exciting and unique spectacle to behold.

Hamamatsu city itself has a long tradition with flying kites during important times. Even to today, a kite is flown each time a baby boy is born, a custom known as “hatsudako”.