Quake-hit Noto town launches crowdfunding drive for summer festival

Residents of a quake-hit town in Japan's Noto Peninsula have started a crowdfunding campaign to hold a traditional festival this summer.

The Abare Festival in Noto Town, Ishikawa Prefecture, is said to date back to Japan's Edo Period from the 17th to 19th century.

The event in the Ushitsu district features dedicatory lanterns called "kiriko" that are over 6 meters high.

The organizer of the campaign says the powerful earthquake and tsunami that hit the region on New Year's Day damaged the workshops that make the lanterns and portable shrines for the festival.

Volunteers say they hope to raise about 7.8 million yen, or roughly 52,000 dollars, to repair the damage so the festival can be held as usual in July. They say they will continue their campaign until early June.

Kawabata Koji, a representative of one of the workshops, says he wants to do everything he can to revive the festival because it is a symbol of the town.