The heat of summer is approaching but there is some fun under the sun if you happen to travel north. Each year around the first week of August, the six prefectures of the Tohoku region each hold their own unique multi-day celebration. Trying to see all of them can be a rewarding challenge, while not attending any is probably a huge disappointment.
1. Waraji Matsuri
July 31 – August 1
Held in Fukushima City, Fukushima: locals heave an enormous sandal around the streets accompanied by song and dance.
Named after the traditional 'waraij' straw sandals, Fukushima's annual festival to mark the summer kicks off in early..
2. Sansa Odori Matsuri
Held in Morioka, Iwate: world's largest parade of taiko drummers march through the streets
The largest drum parade in Japan
3. Nebuta Matsuri
Held in Aomori City, Aomori (with additional variants of Nebuta held Hirosaki and Goshogowara): elaborate handmade parade floats pulled to a rhythm of dancing, jumping, and chanting. Very high energy, especially after dark.
Nebuta festival is the biggest Tanabata festival that makes up the three great festivals of Tohoku Region.
4. Kanto Matsuri
Held in Akita City, Akita: local super athletes, with a handful of youths, balance mind-numbingly high bamboo poles carrying paper lanterns through the city streets.
The Kanto Matsuri is also known as the pole lantern festival. It is a Tanabata related celebration in Akita City held annually from..
5. Hanagasa Matsuri
Held in Yamagata City, Yamagata: tracing its origins from the farmers of yesteryear, dancers perform a special dance involving spinning their large straw hats.
Hanagasa Matsuri is a dance festival which originiated in Obanazawa but is now celebrated across Yamagata every summer.
6. Tanabata Matsuri
Held in Sendai, Miyagi: a quieter festival impressing crowds with its countless artistic streamer decorations hanging throughout the many shopping arcades. On the night of August 5th, there are fireworks along the Hirose River.
Sendai Tanabata Festival held August 6th-8th always delights visitors. The largest Tanabata event in Japan continues to grow in..