Stone Milky Way lights up Gifu night on eve of Tanabata Photo: Shogo Koshida

July 07, 2012 By NOBUAKI BENIYA

By NOBUAKI BENIYA/ Staff Writer
NAKATSUGAWA, Gifu Prefecture–A spectacular display of luminous stones imitating the Milky Way opened to the public in the mountain city of Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture, on July 6, the eve of Japan’s traditional “Tanabata” Star Festival.

In light rain, visitors walked a 300-meter route strewn with artificial ceramic pebbles and naturally luminous minerals, such as fluorites.

The multi-colored spectacle, hosted by the Stone Museum Hakusekikan in the Hirukawa district, also features “fireflies,” luminous stones suspended from wires and blown by electric fans.

The Stone Milky Way will be open from 6 p.m. through 9 p.m. until July 8. Admission is free of charge.

A music concert was scheduled to be held on July 7, the evening of Tanabata. Tanabata is a traditional festival believed to have been first held in Japan in 755 and celebrates the myth of an annual meeting between two lovers represented by the stars Vega and Altair in the Milky Way.

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