Candle Night at Kandagawa

January 19, 2009 · Print This Article

Aya and I happened to be in the Nihonbashi area for a festival, so only by chance did we come across Candle Night at Kandagawa.  This was 700 candles floating in cut off 2-liter plastic bottles all put on display by university students to promote environmental awareness (the irony of using so much plastic is not lost on me).  We passed by while it was still a bit light out and they were setting up.  We were given a flyer and told to be sure and come back after dark.

When we returned not all the candles were lit.  There were not that many students performing the lighting, and I felt like I almost wanted to help them get the job done!  There were not that many onlookers, so maybe that’s why they appreciated me taking the time to take so many photographs of the candles.  

There was a video being projected on a street wall showing the surprisingly complicated apparatus they designed for housing the candles.  The 2-liter bottles were filled with water so the candles would float prettily, but also in case the bottles fell over the water would douse the flame.  

Candle Night in Kanagawa was the cap to one of my best days in Tokyo actually, mostly due to the amazing festival we had witnessed earlier.


It was quite a job lighting all 700 candles, there were only a few volunteers, I felt like I should have volunteered to help! Candle Night at Kandagawa From a bridge over the Kanda River, the candles merely added a small string of light to an already pleasant view.
For all the effort, probably not many people saw the candles. Aya bends a flame toward her with her mind! Seemed weird that candles about an eco message used so much plastic, I guess the eco comes from re-using it.
A video was playing about how they designed the candle holders, seemed more complicated than I thought. Candles were lined up high and low. Pairing the candles with the lights of a restaurant boat.
The candles were floating in water so if they were blown over, the water would douse the flame. An onlooker, one of the few, sadly. I wonder where they got all 700 bottles from?  Did one guy have to drink a lot of Aquarius??


10 Responses to “Candle Night at Kandagawa”

  1. on January 19th, 2009 11:03 PM

    700 Candles along the Kandagawa River…

    A group of university students lined a section of the Kanda River with 700 candles floating in plastic bottles to raise environmental awareness. A photo gallery of the strange candle apparati is included. …

  2. on January 20th, 2009 11:25 AM

    Nice shots, Jason. Your turn to be Jonny on The Spot! :-) At least these folks are re-using their plastic bottles wisely and creatively. Will visit their site and if you dont mind plop a link to it and this article on my Japanorama pages.


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Hi Alfie,

    Thank you, and yes please link to it on Japanorama if you’d like.

    The kids put a lot of effort into this project as seen in the video they had rolling.


  3. on January 20th, 2009 1:20 PM

    I’d say my two favorite photos there are the top one you used to lead the post and the other one where you paired the plastic bottle lights to the lights from the restaurant. Very nicely done!

    Been trying to reach you on Skype to talk shop. I just got a new Canon 50D and I’m thinking I might try out Zenfolio.


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Wow, congrats on the 50D Ben!

    I looked at Zenfolio. It looks pretty good. I definitely need to get a system worked out that allows people to buy prints or digital copies of photos online. It seems like Zenfolio can be a person’s one stop photography website with no need for their own site, other than to have the domain name.

    Keep looking for me on Skype!


  4. on January 22nd, 2009 8:07 PM

    Heck, I’m sorry to have missed this, as it’s (kinda) in my hood. Love the photo you got with the yakata-bune restaurant boat passing by. Those things move fast, they’re not easy to photograph!


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Actually, the boat was docked at the time so no skill required to catch it, but thanks though!


  5. on February 22nd, 2010 6:49 AM

    Now THAT’S a cool boat! :)


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Hi Mark….thanks!


  6. on February 22nd, 2010 11:23 AM

    Thanks Mark!


Got something to say?