Beautiful street decorations in Kobe, Japan honoring earthquake victims

Photo: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

The major shopping district of Kobe, Japan, is illuminated with millions of decorative lights on Dec. 5 as a part of the 19th Kobe Luminarie.

While the intricate display is reminiscent of holiday decorations around the world, the annual event actually commemorates the victims of Kobe's Great Hanshin Earthquake, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake that claimed 6,434 lives on Jan. 17, 1995.

The devastating quake was the worst the country had seen since the Great Kanto earthquake killed more than 140,000 people in 1923.

* * * 
 
Beautiful street decorations in Kobe, Japan honoring earthquake victims

Photo: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

* * * 
 
Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.