A Tourou, Japanese lantern is one of traditional Japanese lighting equipments. When it is used outside, these lanterns are usually made from metal or stone. It is said that lanterns were introduced into Japan with Buddhism in the Nara Period.
There are several types of lanterns such as hanging lanterns, standing lanterns etc.
A lantern, which is placed before the tablet of the deceased, has a meaning to illuminate a dark path in order not to get lost for the spirits of the dead. In recent years, lanterns are used for decoration at a Japanese garden and of course, still are placed in front of the tablet of the deceased or at grave.
There is an event called “Tourou Nagashi”, which is held to send off the spirits of the dead by floating lanterns on a river or sea.