Tohoku’s Festivals Crammed Into a Single Week

In the summertime, communities all around Japan host festivals known as matsuri. The first week of August is festival season all across Japan, but the Tohoku region, in the island’s northernmost part, is particularly famous for its celebrations. Here are all that you need to know about the tohoku festival tours.

Fukushima Matsuri Festival Waraji

To kick off your celebratory week, go to Fukushima for the wild and wonderful Waraji Matsuri, a festival dedicated to the traditional straw sandals of the same name. Teams from local schools and companies will participate in a series of waraji races on the first day of the festival to determine who can carry a large straw sandal the fastest.

Participation in the Morioka Sansa Odori Festival

If you’re looking to check off a festival that’s included in the Guinness Book of World Records, the Sansa Odori Festival in Morioka is the place to be. This festival will include more than 10,000 taiko drummers and dancers, making it the largest of its kind in the world. 

Participation in the Morioka Sansa Odori Festival

Countless drumming and dancing troupes, all up in authentic kimonos, may be seen performing on the streets of Japan nowadays. Beautiful floats are being towed by some of these organizations. The Sansa dance is performed, which was originally from the Iwate Prefecture but was modified so that it could be seen at this massive event. 

The Aomori Nebuta Festival

Visit what is generally regarded as one of the most stunning festivals in the Tohoku region by taking the short train ride from Morioka to Aomori. The aggregate weight of the floats, many of which resemble characters from Japanese mythology, might exceed four tons! 

Celebration of the Neputa of Hirosaki

Take a trip to Hirosaki, a historic castle town that comes to life during the first week of August for the festival that serves as the sister event to the Aomori Nebuta Festival. You won’t want to miss the Aomori Nebuta Festival’s companion event after seeing the city in a blaze of color and light. 

Akita Kanto Festival

The matsuri’s nightly march along Chuo Road highlights the delicate balancing of kanto poles, which may reach heights of up to 12 meters and are decorated with illuminated paper lanterns, making them the festival’s focal point. Musicians playing traditional flutes and taiko drums march beside the procession. At the end of the parade, onlookers may chat with the artists and see how well they can hoist kanto.

Hanagasa Festival in Yamagata Prefecture

Yamagata, a sleepy town for the most part of the year, wakes up in August for one of the largest festivals in the Tohoku region. Hundreds of dancers don traditional Japanese straw hats decorated with artificial flowers and parade through the streets, giving the event its name. 

Tanabata Festival in Sendai, Japan

On your last day in Japan, be sure to check out the Sendai Tanabata Festival. During the Tanabata holiday, this festival is among the most well-known celebrations in Japan. In the ninth century, the Japanese acquired a custom originally observed in China at the Qixi festival. 

Sendai Tanabata Festival

From Yamagata Station, you may take a bus to Sendai Station and arrive in time for the Sendai Tanabata Festival, or you can take the JR Sendai Line and arrive in time for the festival in one hour and thirty minutes. Buses and trains leave almost every hour along both routes, and both provide spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

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