Nebuta Matsuri is the biggest Tanabata festival that makes up the three great festivals of Tohoku Region. It is held in Aomori city every year from August 2nd to 7th. The highlight of the festival is the daily parade of gigantic, colourful lantern floats which are accompanied by large taiko drums, musicians and dancers.
The lanterns are constructed of painted washi paper over a wire frame, usually depicting gods, historical or mythical figures from Japanese culture, kabuki actors and characters from popular TV shows, such as NHK's historical Taiga Drama. They are illuminated from the inside in vibrant colors.
The lantern floats are pushed along the streets, spinning around the crowd. Free seating is available on the ground along the 3 km parade route, although reserved seats are also available. Many other events are held during the festival at Rassera Land. Festival floats are kept there during the day before used each evening, so visitors can take a closer look, as well as get an opportunity to meet the designers. Moreover, there are singing and dance performances, as well as vendors selling food and festival related goods.
Festival event times vary each day:
- 19:10–21:00 August 2–6
- 13:00–15:00 August 7
- 19:15–21:00 August 7 Bay Parade and Fireworks