Translated by Jelena Kitamura
Feel The North's Summer Heat At The 2017 Aomori Nebuta Festival!
Here you can find the information about the Aomori Nebuta Festival, a traditional celebration held in Aomori prefecture in the Tohoku region of Japan. It is a splashy celebration, with grandiose nebuta floats carried down the main street of Aomori.
Written by Mayu
What is the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri?
Image courtesy of the Aomori Tourism and Convention Association
The Aomori Nebuta Matsuri is a traditional festival held in Aomori Prefecture in the Tohoku Region. It is a magnificent parade through the city of Aomori, with enormous lantern floats, or nebuta floats, like the one in the opening photograph, being carried down the city’s main street.
It is believed that the very beginning of the Nebuta Festival is connected to the toro nagashi, a tradition of releasing lanterns down the river or into the sea on the night of the Tanabata holiday (*1), praying for one’s good health and the health of the beloved ones. It is also said that the Nebuta Festival owes its name to mispronouncing that tradition in the Tohoku region, where it was called neburi nagashi.
Later on, around 1716, during the mid-Edo period, the festival earned yet another characteristic when people started carrying the lanterns while dancing and using dashi platforms during the celebration (a dashi is a decorated parade platform pulled around during the festival). It wasn’t until the latter half of the Edo period, that Kabuki-themed grandiose lantern platforms arrived on stage, like the ones we see today, to take the celebration to the next level.
Another trait of the Nebuta Festival is the Haneto, a dynamic group of dancers with great energy overflowing from their performance. In this article we will bring the 2017 Aomori Nebuta Festival closer to you, and tell you all important information about its schedule and how visitors can enjoy its great atmosphere.
*1 Tanabata festival: an annual festival held in July, celebrating the changing of the seasons.
The Schedule of the 2017 Aomori Nebuta Festival
You can check the 2017 Aomori Nebuta Festival’s schedule below.
Held: August 2nd 2018 (Thursday) - August 7th 2018 (Tuesday)
There are various events planned for each day of the festival. Also note that on the 1st of August the Zenyasai (“festival eve”) celebration is held, however, they will not be carrying nebuta during that celebration.
On the 2nd and 3rd of August (from 19:10 until 21:00 in the evening), the children and adults of the area gather around to carry thirty nebuta floats in total – children carry fifteen small ones, while the adults are in charge of fifteen big nebuta floats.
The 4th, 5th and 6th of August welcome the arrival of twenty large nebuta floats (from 19:10 until 21:00 in the evening). During that period the festival is at its peak with a vibrant atmosphere and good mood floating in the air.
Finally, on the 7th of August (from 13:00 until 15:00 in the afternoon), twenty large-sized nebuta floats are presented. What makes this day truly exceptional is the opportunity to witness the display of a special nebuta float during the day, even though that nebuta is usually seen only during the night. Furthermore, during the same day, starting at 19:15 until 21:00, visitors can experience the magical sight of nebuta platforms being carried over the sea around Aomori Bay, and wonderful fireworks lighting up the night sky. This event takes visitors on a round trip journey as they watch the ship carrying the nebuta out into the waters of the bay, while fireworks start crackling overhead – the sea, the nebuta float and the fireworks combine to form a unique, picturesque sight.