Summer is the time of festivals in Japan, and boy do they do them right! Last weekend I attended the Misawa Tanabata festival, which was right out the gate. It was a good time; a similar vibe to the festival we attended last year. This weekend, on the other hand, I got the pleasure of attending the largest Tanabata type festival of Aomori prefecture, the Nebuta Matsuri (ねぶた祭), held in Aomori City.

This festival highlights a parade of giant lantern floats followed by drummers, musicians, and dancers. These enormous floats are pushed and displayed by parade participants! The parade lasted more than two hours, so I don’t know how they managed, but I was thoroughly impressed and amazed by the beauty of the floats. The drummers, musicians, and dancers followed behind each float performing on large taiko drums, flutes, and hand cymbals. They danced and chanted “Rassera, Rassera.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but after listening to it for two hours I’ll be chanting it for the rest of my life.

Japanese festivals are similar to state fairs as far as food vendors and memorabilia merchants are concerned. Every few feet you have a chance to purchase delicious Japanese street food like yakisoba, chicken/pork on a stick, sausages and corn dogs. You can also find ice cream at every corner, which is a lifesaver for these hot and humid summer months! There’s also no open container laws in Japan, so a happy buzz engulfs most festival goers.

The Aomori Nebuta festival was my favorite to date! Learning about Japanese culture and history never fails to leave me with awe, and I love watching the people of Japan come together and celebrate. Check out some videos and pictures of the festival below!

*A special thanks to my friend, Lily, for taking these awesome pictures! 🙂

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