Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri

Morioka Sansa Odori

Mon, the 1st to Thurs, the 4th of August: Morioka Sansa Odori in Morioka city, Iwate Prefecture.

This festival regained the No.1 spot in the Guinness Records for the largest Taiko drum festival in 2014.
Men and women of all ages participate in the festival as drummers. This festival sees about 1.35 million visitors. The sound of Taiko drums echoes throughout the heart of the dancers and the audience.

● Morioka Sansa Odori
Place:Morioka city, Chuo Street
Access:15 min walk from JR Morioka station

Akita Kanto Matsuri

Wed, the 3rd to Sat, the 6th of August : Akita Kanto Matsuri in Akita city, Akita Prefecture

This festival is associated with the ritual called “Neburinagashi”, to hope for a good harvest and to prevent illness for the people. 9 bamboo trees are attached to one 12-meter long bamboo tree, which together, holds 46 lanterns. It weighs about 50kg, so they need to balance it well using their foreheads, necks and waists. It’s like a scene from a Japanese movie!

● Akita Kanto Matsuri
Place:Kanto Odori Street
Access:Around akita station

Aomori Nebuta Matsuri Festival

Tue, the 2nd to Sun, the 7th of August: Aomori Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori city, Aomori Prefecture

Every year, Aomori Nebuta Matsuri has more than 3 million visitors. The stage’s theme is from Chinese legends, historical people, Kabuki, or Buddhist Gods. Recently local legends and popular TV stars, especially from TV drama (NHK’s historical drama), are used for the festival’s theme. This festival is too famous to miss!

● Aomori Nebuta Matsuri
Place:Around Aomori station
Access:Aomori station

Sendai Tanabata Matsuri
Nobuyuki Kondo

Sat, the 6th to Mon, the 8th of August: Sendai Tanabata Matsuri in Sendai city, Miyagi Prefecture

The event has been celebrated since the period of Masamune (1264–1343 AD). It became famous from inheriting old Japanese beauty. More than 2 million visitors come to this event every year.

● Sendai Tanabata Matsuri
Place:All around the city, such as Chuo dori street.
Access:3 min walk from JR Sendai station.

Yamagata Hanakasa Matsuri

Fri, the 5th to Sun, the 7th of August: Yamagata Hanakasa Matsuri in Yamagata city, Yamagata Prefecture

This festival comes with the vigorous shouting of, “Yassho Makasho!” and the majestic sounds of Hanakasa Taiko drums. The gorgeously decorated Yamakasa lead the way, with dancers in vivid costumes with Kasa following them.

● Yamagata Hanakasa Matsuri
Place:Yamagata city Tokachi machi to Honmachi to Nanukamachi to Bunshokan-mae.(About 1.2km)
Access:10 min walk from JR Yamagata station

Awa odori

Fri, the 12th to Mon, the 15th of August: Awaodori in Tokushima

Tokushima’s Awaodori is recognized worldwide as a festival that has a 400-year history. During this festival, the sounds of Ohayashi echo throughout town, entertaining the audience and dancers with the Zomeki rhythms. People tag the group called “ren”, and play Shamisen, whistles, drums, and walk in the street.

● Awaodori
Place:City centre of Tokushima
Access:10 min walk from JR Tokushima station

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Writer / Translator

I’m a freelance translator from Tokyo who likes to travel right in the middle of the unpredictables in life. Through the translation of articles I hope to create points of contact between Japan and the rest of the world. As a writer, I want to add information that isn’t in the guide book, from a “wasabi” perspective!