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August 2018 Event Roundup

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Sendai Motions August Event Round-Up
This month has the biggest festivals of the summer!
In addition to the famous ones, we found some great local festivals you can join.

Tohoku Big 3 Summer Festivals

I. (Part 1) Sendai Tanabata Fireworks
When: August 5th 7-8:30PM
This is a massive 1.5 hour spectacular fireworks show. Pick up food and drink in Nishi Koen and then watch the festival from the park, or even the nearby road and bridge which will be closed to vehicle traffic! It will be crowded, so arrive early.
Admission: Free
Where: Nishi Koen (map)
Bonus: if you hate crowds, the fireworks are visible from other locations, too. Atago Shrine is one good place to see them from (map)

I. (Part 2) Sendai Tanabata Festival
When: August 6th-8th
This festival is less an event than decorations and a festive atmosphere spread throughout Sendai City. Look for highly decorative bamboo streamers in the Sendai covered shopping arcades, at Sendai Station, at Kotodai Koen and more.
Admission: Free

II. Akita Kanto Festival
When: August 3rd-6th from 6:50PM
This festival takes place at night with revelers balancing sail-like paper lanterns that weigh up to 50kg on a pole as they move through the streets. The lanterns are a nod to Tohoku's farming heritage as they represent stalks of rice.
Where: Akita City

Official website:

III. Aomori Nebuta, Hirosaki Neputa, Goshogawara Tachi Neputa
When: August 2nd-7th (Aomori City), August 1st-7th (Hirosaki City), August 4-8th 7-9PM (Goshogawara Town)
The sound of Taiko drums sets the pace as giant illuminated nebuta floats are wheeled through the city streets. Aomori City's festival is the biggest and most crowded with impressive floats representing many major corporations. Hirosaki City has more of a small town feel, and it is easier to move around and get right up to the floats. Goshogawara also
Aomori City Nebuta official website (English):
Hirosaki Neputa details (English):
Goshogawara Tachi Neputa details (English):

August Events in Miyagi

1. Seven Beach Festival (Shichigahama)
When: August 4th, 10-8PM
This huge annual beach festival takes place at Shobuta Beach (菖蒲田浜) in Shichigahama. Join for live music, BBQ food, beach yoga, surfing and more!
Admission: free
Where: Shobuta Beach (菖蒲田浜) in Shichigahama Town

Access: from Sendai take JR Senseki Line to Tagajo Station (多賀城駅), then take one of two buses. Take Miyako Bus "Shiomidai Danchi Line" towards Shobuta Beach (汐見台団地線菖蒲田行き) or the Shichigahama Municipal Bus "Gururinko" (七ヶ浜町民バス ぐるりんこ). Both buses will bring you to Shobuta Bus Stop in about 30 minutes.

2. Kesennuma Minato Matsuri
When: August 4 4:30 to 8PM, August 5th 11-3PM; 5-8:30PM
The 4th features Hamarainya dancing on Tanaka-mae Street and the 5th has a parade from 11:15 to 3PM around the inner harbor area. Events continue until evening with fireworks from 8-8:30PM.
Admission: free
Access: Miyako Bus has a direct bus from Sendai (in front of the Prefectural Office). Or take local or shinkansen train to Ichinoseki and change to Ofunato Line to Kesennuma Station
Details (JP):

3. Zuihoden Tanabata Light-up
When: August 6-8, 6-9PM
This gorgeously decorated temple surrounded by centuries-old forest is lit up at night by bamboo lanterns. Don't miss the nightly musical performances, either!
Admission: 550 yen
Access: Recommend walking from downtown Sendai. Nearest subway stations are Itsutsubashi or Omachi Nishi-Koen. There is direct bus access from Sendai Station.
Zuihoden details (English):
Event details:

4. Ogawara Summer Fireworks (Ogawara)
When: August 11 1-9PM (fireworks start at 7PM)
Ogawara, a town 30 minutes south of Sendai, has a long history of impressive fireworks shows. This year they'll be launching 5000 fireworks into the night sky over the Shiroishi River. The festival starts in the afternoon with food stands and even a 500 person bingo game at 4PM (sign-up by 3:30).
Cost: Free
Access: Multiple parking lots available but train recommended. From Sendai, take JR Tohoku Line towards Fukushima and get off at Ogawara Station (580 yen).

5. Craft Beer Festival in Ishinomaki
When: Sunday 8/12 from 11AM-3PM
Head to Ishinomaki for a celebration of the recovery of Shirahama Beach. What better way to celebrate than with craft beer? Local beers include Ishinomaki Hiyori, Sendai's Kokucho, Yakurai from Kami Town and Ishinomaki's Makikaze ale. Participants get one free drink. Family-friendly; children's "beer" is also available.
In addition, pay your respects at the "beer shrine," watch a women's beach volleyball demonstration, and try stand up paddling for 1000 yen between 10-2PM.
Map (beach):
Map (beer shrine):
Access: Car recommended

6. Sendai Basho Sumo Tournament
When: August 12, 8AM-3PM (main event starts 1PM)
Enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere and a chance to see some of Japan's best wrestlers closer up than at the major tournaments.
Where: Kamei Arena
Tickets: 5000 yen and up, purchase in advance through PIA

Official website:
Access: Tomizawa Station, Sendai Nanboku Line

2017 Sendai Sumo

7. Urato Islands Summer Fireworks (Shiogama)
When: August 13th Katsurashima from 4-9PM (桂島), August 14th Nonoshima (野々島)
Enjoy bon dancing, fireworks and the incredible atmosphere of Matsushima Bay after sunset from inhabited islands in the bay.
Cost: boat fare is 1000 yen to Katsurashima (round-trip) or 1100 yen to Nonoshima (round-trip)
Map to Marine Gate:
Access: ferry from Shiogama Marine Gate. Special evening ferries available during this period including a 6:30PM from Shiogama and 9PM return from Katsurashima
Ferry schedule (JP):…/ki…/jikoku-ryokin.html…
Details (JP): Information posted here:

8. Umi no Bon Festival (Matsushima)
When: August 15, 6-9PM
Celebrate with local residents with beautiful Matsushima Bay in the background. The Umi no Bon festival revives local traditions of bon dancing, taiko drum performances and the floating of paper lanterns in Matsushima Bay. A highlight is taking a sightseeing boat out into the bay at night to put lanterns into the bay. It also features a fireworks show at 8PM and many vendors and food stands.
The 16th has an evening prayer ceremony "Osegakie" led by priests from Zuiganji Temple. Fireworks at 7:30PM, lantern procession from the temple to Central Park begins at 7:50PM.
Admission: Free
Where: Matsushima Central Park 中央広場
Access: Roads are very crowded during the Obon period, so public transportation is highly recommended. Nearest train station Matsushimakaigan (JR Senseki Line) is a 7 min. walk.
Details (En):
Details (JP):

9. Hirosegawa Lanterns and Fireworks
When: August 20, 3-9PM
Float lanterns in the Hirosegawa river to honor the spirits of the deceased.
Main ceremony starts 5PM, concert performances from 6-7:10 and 7:20 to 8:20PM. Fireworks from 8-8:30PM.
Admission: free; dedicate your own lantern for 2000 yen
Access: Short walk from Kawaramachi Subway Station (Nanboku Line)
Details (JP):

10. Higashi-Matsushima Summer Festival (Higashi-Matsushima)
When: August 26 from 10:30-8:30PM
This event starts at 10:30am and includes a parade, Shinto procession with a portable shrine, stage shows, a fly-over by the Blue Impulse jets and more! Lots of food stands. A great event for families. The finale will feature a fireworks show launched from the Matsushima Air Base. (Cancelled in inclement weather)
Admission: Free
Where: between Yamoto Station and the Self-Defense Forces base
Access: Nearest train station is Yamoto on the JR Senseki Line
Details (JP):
Sendai Motions story: 

Picture from 2017

11. Watch the Full Moon from a Samurai Teahouse in Matsushima
When: Saturday 8/25 5-8PM (last entry 7:30)
For the next full moon, enjoy a romantic evening watching it rise over the bay while having tea in a samurai tea house. Centuries ago Matsushima's Kanrantei Tea House was a place where nobles enjoyed the cool summer breeze and watched the moon rise over Matsushima Bay. In honor of this history it is open for special evening hours for the August full moon.
Admission: 500 yen includes entry, matcha green tea and a dessert
Access: 5 min. walk from Matsushimakaigan Station (JR Senseki Line)

12. Art Exhibition: "Voyage" showcasing young local artists (Shiogama)
When: Ongoing until 8/26, 10-5PM (Closed Mondays)
Two young artists from Miyagi approach the heritage and meaning of the region through paintings and ceramics. In an imaginative mix of history and myth, painter Nozomi Tanaka imagines Shiogama as a ship at sea being carried by faithful white rabbits. Ceramic artist Koudai Ujiie traces the layers of history as if they were geologic strata with masterfully layered ceramic works.
Admission: 500 yen
Where: Shiogama Sugimura Jun Museum of Art
Access: 10 min. walk from Hon-Shiogama Station on the JR Senseki Line
Details (EN):

13. Lotus Festival in Lake Izunuma (Tome City)
When 7/20 to 8/31, 8-4PM
Lake Izunuma, an internationally recognized wildlife preserve, is covered with beautiful lotus flowers and leaves in the summer. The best way to experience it is by taking a boat out on the lake. It's accessible by train from Sendai.
Cost: Entry is free, boat is 700 yen (adults)
Access: Short walk from Nitta Station on the JR Tohoku Line
Details (EN, JP):

14. Art Exhibition "The Past in the Present"
When: August 28-September 9 (Closed Monday)
Opening reception & party 8/28 from 6:30PM (reservation requested)
Artist Aisuke Kondo creates works around the concepts of matter and memory, existence and non-existence. He was inspired by great-grandfather's life in the United States, and the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans in prison camps during World War II. This exhibition of drawings and photos was based on deep research on Americans of Japanese descent, and reflection on the past hidden in the present, the self and other, and migration and identity.
Where: Gallery Turnaround
Admission: Free (except opening party which is 500 yen)
Access: Short walk from Omachi Nishi Koen Station (Sendai Subway Tozai Line)
Details (JP):

15. Naruko Kokeshi Matsuri (Osaki City)
When: Fri. August 31 to Sun. Sept. 2
These handcrafted wooden dolls symbolize Tohoku, and Naruko Onsen in Miyagi has a long history producing them. Come for an unusual ceremony-on the night before (Friday 8/31 from 6PM) there will be a farewell and ceremonial burning of unwanted kokeshi at the Onsen Shrine 温泉神社.
September 1st has an opening ceremony at 9AM, and a market and exhibit of kokeshi from across Japan begins at 10AM. The highlight is a surreal parade of people dressed in lifesized kokeshi costumes that begins at 6:30PM.
Admission: Free
Map: Onsen Shrine:
Access: Shinkansen or local train to JR Furukawa Station. Change to Rikuu-East Line and arrive at Naruko Onsen Station. There is also a direct express train "Minori" from Sendai or Matsushima Station. Advance ticket purchase recommended.
Details (JP):

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