Japan Summer Festivals (Matsuri) in Tohoku Area You Would Not Want to Miss (Part 1)

It’s summer time! And having a trip to Japan is always a good idea, especially these days. Now, we have an advice for your next trip. Why not visiting Tohoku region? It has six prefectures in the north of Japan’s largest island, Honshu.

Maybe you knew that Tohoku area was hit by tsunami in 2011. No need to worry, the area is considered safe now. Plus, they are welcoming tourists again!

Tohoku area is popular for its mountains, lakes, hot springs and basically Japan’s countryside. Thus, it’s no brainer that they probably offer the most amazing summer festivals, which called “Matsuri” in Japanese, you shouldn’t miss.

Let’s find out what Matsuri we can enjoy, based on each prefecture in Tohoku area:

  • Akita Prefecture

Rich in nature and known for its rice, Akita Prefecture is even more special in the summer. They held the pole lantern festival, or “Kanto Matsuri” in Japanese, every year from August 3 to 6. Around 10,000 paper lanterns representing rice bags sway in the air, making it one of the biggest lantern festivals in Japan. The festival purpose is to pray for an abundant harvest and ward off bad luck.

During The Kanto Matsuri, you will see young people march around with impressive display of skill. The performers are often seen balancing 12 meters long poles on their foreheads and shoulders. The kanto poles carrying as many as 46 paper lanterns and lit by real candles, in case you wondering. The kanto poles could weight up to 50 kilograms!

  • Aomori Prefecture

The northernmost prefecture in Honshu island is also full of nature. Hence, it has exceptionally beautiful sceneries. Apart from that, we can witness one of Tohoku’s three biggest festivals in here!

They held the Nebuta Festival or the Nebuta Matsuri every year from August 2 to 7. It’s basically the daily parade, but there are so many nice things to see. Ranging from giant floats of the Monkey King to demons look-alike!

In fact, local teams take an entire year to design and construct the festival’s two dozen floats. Often, those are mythical or historical figures from both Japanese and Chinese cultures. Imagine all of them march through the streets emitting colourful lights. Not to mention the dancers, musicians and large Taiko drums who take part on the parade. Sure, you wouldn’t miss it for the world.

  • Fukushima Prefecture

It’s the entrance of the Tohoku region with many natural scenic spots. But they also have the Waraji Festival where a dozen of people march through the city wearing “Waraji”. Waraji is traditional Japanese footwear made of rice straw.

The main street of Fukushima city will be lively with the local residents wearing traditional festival outfits. They also perform many interesting dances in the fun-filled event. The festival held every year in early August to pray for healthy feet for its citizens. This year, it will be held on August 3 and 4!

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