The Paper Balloon Festival of Kamihinokinai is a fantastic event held on February 10th every year. Paper balloons float up into the dark night sky one after another. Large paper balloons are as long as 8 meters. About 100 paper balloons are launched every year. Just like hot-air balloons, the paper balloons float up from the heated air inside. http://japan-magazine.jnto.go.jp/en/1412_paperballoon.html
Paper balloons are literally made of paper. Japanese writing paper was once used, however, industrial Japanese paper with the width of about 1 meter has been used in recent years in response to the growing size of the balloons. The paper is glued together to make a cylindrical shape with the height of 3 to 8 meters.
Historically, the festival was often used as a way to pray for bumper crops and perfect state of health. In recent years, however, the well-being of households, prosperity in businesses, safe driving, and success in examinations are also prayed for. Each person in the community conveys one’s thoughts and hopes to the paper balloons and sets them off into the night sky in the deep of winter so they reach to the heaven. http://www.city.semboku.akita.jp/en/sightseeing/spot/06_kamifuusen.html