Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri

For the second half of August, please check our article: The best Japanese festivals for the first half of August 2018

Wed, the 1st to Sat, 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 worlds’s largest drum festival in 2014!
Men and women of all ages participate in the festival as drummers. This festival sees about 1.35 million visitors. Let your heart beat to the rhythm of the taiko drums!

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

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

Akita Kanto Matsuri
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 feels surreal!

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

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

Aomori Nebuta Matsuri Festival
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!

Cannot go there but would like a taste of Aomori? You can visit ‘Ringo no Hana‘, an izakaya in Tokyo doing its best introducing people to Aomori culture.

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

Mon, the 6th to Wed, 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.

Sun, the 5th to Tue, 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

Sun, the 12th to Wed, the 15th of August: Awaodori in Tokushima

Awa odori
Tokushima’s Awaodori is recognized worldwide as a festival that has a 400-year history. During this festival, the festival music echoes throughout the town. People play Shamisen, whistles, drums, and walk in the street.

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!