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Tako-Age (Kite Flying)

April, May, June
Kite-flying battles are a favorite sport in Japan, and numerous kite festivals take place in the spring. In the battles, the object is to cut down other kites by means of skillful maneuvering; broken glass embedded in the kite lines also helps.
The kite festivals of Nagasaki are held in April and May, with teams of as many as 20 people controlling colossal kites up to 25' x 30' in size.
In Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture, a kite festival is held on the beach May 3-5. It is thought to have originated in the mid-16th century when the lord of one of the fiefdoms celebrated the birth of a son by flying a giant kite. It is the biggest event now in the western region of the prefecture, with more than 1,000 kites sparring in the sky. Other festival events include parades of 50 floats in the evenings.
In Shirone in Niigata Prefecture, two teams on opposite banks of the Nakanokuchi River wage kite battles in mid-June. This festival supposedly dates back some 300 years when the people of one village accidentally crashed a huge kite onto a neighboring village.
Hamamatsu City
Tourism Information Center
165-16 Sunayama-cho, JR Hamamatsu Station
Hamamatsu, 430-0926 Japan
81-5-3452-1634; fax: 81-5-3413-5920
Niigata Visitors and Convention Bureau
1-613-69 Hakusan-ur
Kaikan 2nd Fl., Chuo-ku
Niigata, 950-1101 Japan
81-2-5265-8000; fax: 81-2-5266-3357
Japan Kite Association
1-12-10 Nihonbashi
Tokyo, 103-0027 Japan
81-3-3275-2704; fax: 81-3-3273-0575
AnnivHol-2000, p. 56
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 122