In Japan, wind chimes are one of the indisputable symbols of summer.
Known as fūrin (風鈴) in Japanese, the style of wind chimes most prevalent in the country consists of a simple glass bowl exterior (外見 gaiken), a bell clapper (舌 zetsu, literally "tongue"), and a colorful strip of paper that moves with the breeze (短冊 tanzaku).
People in Japan have been using them from as early as the Heian period (794 to 1185), with their original purpose being a charm used by nobility to ward off evil spirits. As the years passed by, they became more accessible to common Japanese people and were used in houses all across the country. In more modern times, their sound and the movement of the tanzaku became associated with summertime breezes that help make the season feel more bearable.
Since summer in Japan is now fully underway, many people are hanging up their wind chimes again. Last week, 100 children and their parents were able to do just that in a unique summer ceremony held inside a parked train in Hyogo Prefecture.
Dubbed the のせでん風鈴電車 “Noseden Wind Chime Train”, the event was held by Hyogo’s Nose Electric Railway Company. Children were able to paint and decorate their own wind chimes and hang them onto the train’s sunflower-filled ceiling. Nose Electric Railway train drivers were also present during the event to assist the children. Once the wind chimes were set up, the kids got to go on a test ride and watch their wind chimes as they moved along with the train.
Passengers taking the Noseden railway lines can ride and see the decorated trains running until the end of August.
More information on the Noseden Wind Chime Train’s schedule can be found on the railway company’s Japanese website.
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