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The Festivals You Can't Miss in Tohoku This Summer 2022

All the festivals and summer matsuri that must be on your bucket list!

· Events and Festivals

The events in this article are presented in chronological order for each prefecture. The prefecture order is: Miyagi, Fukushima, Yamagata, Iwate, Akita, and finally, Aomori.

Miyagi Prefecture

New festivals have been added!

1. Yanagimachi Summer Matsuri

(柳町夏まつり)

Dates: 19th – 20th July 2022

Location: Downtown Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

The Yanagimachi Summer Matsuri, also known as the Yanagimachi Dainichi Nyorai Festival, is held every year on the 19th and 20th of July, turning the street in front of Yanagimachi Dainichi Nyorai Shrine is into a pedestrian paradise! Come stroll the streets of Sendai lined with stands selling local goodies, games, matsuri music, and much more!

2. Shiogama Minato Festival

(塩竈みなと祭)

Dates: 17th – 18th July 2022

Location: Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture

Every year on "Marine Day," the Shiogama Minato Festival (or matsuri) is held to pray for bountiful harvests of fish and safety at sea. Known as one of the Three Great Boat Festivals in all of Japan, celebrations will open on the 17th with a must-see spectactle of approximately 8000 fireworks! The shrine's procession and parade are held the next day featuring spectacular and colorful dragon and phoenix boats!

3. Onagawa Minato Festival

(おながわみなと祭り)

Dates: 24th July 2022

Location: Onagawa Machi, Miyagi Prefecture

This summer, the Onagawa Port Festival will be held for the first time in 12 years! The highlight of the festival is the "Lion Dance on the Sea," a traditional dance performed on a boat, floating on the Onagawa Bay, by locals wearing a lion mask! There will also be a firework display to admire during the evening at 7:10PM.

Don't miss out on this powerful performance and unique event at the beautiful seaside town of Onagawa!

4. Sendai Tanabata Festival

(仙台七夕まつり)

Dates: 5th – 8th August 2022

Location: Downtown Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

The Sendai Tanabata Festival is a major summer festival, ranking among the 3 Great Festivals of all of Tohoku. The streets of Sendai are decorated with colorful Tanabata streamers, and the whole city comes to life with summer festivities. The Fireworks are held on the eve preceding the Sendai Tanabata Festival (August 5th), in the center of the city no less, which is very rare in Japan. This is the largest Tanabata celebration in all of Japan and should absolutely be on your bucketlist!

5. Ishinomaki Kawabiraki Matsuro

(石巻川開き祭り)

Dates: 6th – 8th August 2022

Location: Ishikawa, Miyagi Prefecture

With a history dating back to the Edo Period, the Ishinomaki Kawabiraki Festival held every year on the banks of the Kitakami River, the largest river in all of Tohoku, features a wide variety of events, including boat-rowing competitions, memorial services, parades, incrdible fireworks, and the Ryuto Ceremony, where 5,000 lanterns are released from the Kitakami River's Utsumi Bridge!

New Festivals Announced in Miyagi!

6. Midori no Mori Summer Illumination 2022

(みどりの杜サマーイルミネーション2022)

Dates: 5th – 21st August 2022

Location: Wakabayashi Ward, Sendai

Enjoy summer 2022 to the fullest through this incredible light-up event incorporating Miyagi Prefecture's most iconic summer elements: sunflowers and Tanabata! This summer, illuminated sunflowers of various varieties will appear as if their floating in the dark night complemented by the glowing Tanabata decorations adding vibrant colors to the atmosphere. Experience summer in Miyagi through this unique event exclusive Sendai! Just like all matsuri celebrations, food stalls and other vendors will also be on site!

Note: Advance reservations are required to enter the event!

Tickets can be purchased here (Japanese). Don't hesitate to contact us for assistance!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): sendai-nogyo-engei-center.jp

Time: 6:00PM – 9:00PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adults (high school age and older): 800 yen
  • Children (age 3 - middle school age): 200 yen
  • Children under 2: Free

Location: Sendai Agricultural Gardening Center, Wakabayashi Ward, Sendai

7. Natori Summer Festival

(なとり夏まつり)

Dates: 6th August 2022

Location: Natori, Miyagi Prefecture

The Natori Summer Festival has been ever since 2012 in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake, with the exception of the last two years due to the pandemic. This festival is held as a memorial service for the victims of the eathquake and subsequent tsunami, and as an expression of gratitude for the reconstruction assistance recieved. An impressive fireworks display of over 10 000 fireworks are also be held on the evening of the event!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): natori-matsuri.com

Time: 

  • Festival: 2:00PM – 9:00PM 
  • Fireworks: 7:30PM–8:30PM

Entry Fee: None (payed seating available)

Location: Yuriage Higashi (閖上東) Area, Natori, Miyagi Prefecture

8. Kesennuma Minato Festival

(気仙沼みなとまつり)

Dates: 7th August 2022

Location: Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture

The Kesennuma Minato Matsuri can be traced back to 1949, when Kesennuma was just a small town. At the time, it was considered a major festival, attracting a whopping 100 000 visitors! Today, it is considered a festival showing the gratitude and livelyness of the citizens of Kesennuma who live with the sea in an area that was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The festival hosts many events including a parade, a rowing contest, stage events, and much more!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): kesennuma.or.jp

Time: 

  • Festival: 11:00AM – 9:00PM 
  • Fireworks: 8:00PM–8:30PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Minatomachi, Kessenuma, Miyagi Prefecture

9. Matsushima Ryutoe Uminobon Festival

(松島流灯会海の盆)

Dates: 15th – 16th August 2022

Location: Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture

The beloved Uminobon Festival in Matsushima is finally back this summer! In an effort to preserve the local culture and traditions following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, this festival is filled with bon dancing, taiko drum performances, and floating paper lanterns that glisten in the Matsushima Bay. Enjoy the many food stands and vendors set up in the En Nichi Plaza as well as a small 20-minute firework show held on both days!

10. Oshika Whale Festival

(牡鹿鯨まつり)

Dates: 21st August 2022

Location: Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture

The Oshika Whale Festival has been held since 1953 as a memorial service for the victims who suffered accidents at the hand of the sea as well as for the spirits of whales. The Oshika Whale Festival has been held since 1953 as a memorial service for the victims of maritime accidents. In order to pass on the culture of Oshika, a town of whaling, this festival was revived in 2013 following the Great East Japan Earthquake. It features stage events and a free tasting of char-grilled whale meat, a delicacy unique to Oshika.

Details

Official Page (Japanese): city.ishinomaki.lg.jp

Time: 10:00AM – 8:30PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Whale Town Oshika, Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture

Fukushima Prefecture

1. Mizumi Matsuri (Lake Festival)

(湖まつり)

Date: 23rd July 2022

Location: Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture

Come and cool down at Koriyama's annual refreshing summer event: the Lake Festival!The event will feature a beer garden, a tub boat ride experience for parents and children, live performances by artists, raffles, fish-catching contests Funtatsu Park and the shores of Lake Inawashiro. A fireworks display will also be held to colorfully illuminate the summer night sky! This festival is a great opportunity to get in touch with the water in a perfect location overlooking the shores of Lake Inawashiro and Mount Bandai in Aizu.

Details

Official Page (Japanese): konanmachi.jp

Time: Not specified, however past festivals started from 11:00AM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Tatehama Funatsu Park Site & Lake Inawashiro, Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture

(福島県郡山市猪苗代湖畔 舘浜・舟津公園敷地内)

2. Bandai Matsuri

(磐梯まつり)

Date: 23rd – 25th July 2022

Location: Kamegajo Park, Fukushima Prefecture

The Bandai Festival was originally created in 1948 as a memorial service for the victims of the Mt. Bandai eruption (July 5th 1888) but has since transformed into the "fire festival" to pray for a good harvest and peace for the townspeople. Through this tradition, the local people have carefully inherited "the spirit of comforting the soul" and "the spirit of gratitude for life".

The main stage is located near Kamegajo Park at the "Festival Plaza," the site of the former Inawashiro Town Hall. Here, various events are held, including stage events, stalls, a music parade, and the Aizu Bandaisan So Odori dance, which attracts many people every year. Unfortunately, this year, the festival will be held on a reduced scale due to COVID-19 concerns.

Details

Event Page (Japanese): matsuri-no-hi.com

Time: Not specified but prior events were held from 1:00PM – 8:30PM on the 1st day and from 9:30AM – 8:30PM on the second.

Entry Fee: None

Location: Kamegajo Park (亀ヶ城公園) and surroundings, Fukushima Prefecture

3. Soma Nomaoi Festival

(相馬野馬追)

Dates: 23rd – 25th July 2022

Location: Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture

The Soma Nomaoi Festival, designated by the national government as an important intangible folk cultural property, is said to have originated when samurai warlord Taira no Masakado released wild horses into the Shimousa Province and trained them to look like enemy soldiers. This festival of three Myokensha shrines (Soma Nakamura Shrine, Soma Ota Shrine, and Soma Odaka Shrine) is an annual event held over 3 days, from the last Saturday of July to the following Monday at the Hibarigahara festival site.

It features a procession of more than 400 horse-mounted warriors marching through the city with portable shrines, an armored horse race and a battle for the sacred flag on horseback held at the Hibarigahara festival site. The "Nomakake" horse chasing event is an incredible event to wtiness. People and horses run amuck amidst a cloud of dust before eventually capturing the horse and praising it at the shrine. This tradition comes from an old ceremony that captured horses, kept them at the local shrine and gave them deity-like status! As hundreds of warriors on horse-back battle for the sacred flag on the final big event of the second day, they bring back to life the epic tale told in the "Sengoku Picture Scroll." Imagine the scene of horse-mounted warriors in armor, with swords at their waists and flags with weapons on their backs galloping along just like in the gorgeous and heroic picture scroll from the Sengoku Period!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): soma-nomaoi.jp

Time: 

  • First day: 8:35AM – 5:30PM 
  • Second day:  9:30AM – 7:30PM  (4:00AM Soma San Myoken Shrine Mikoshi Dedication)
  • Third day:  9:00AM – 11:30AM 

Entry Fee: None

Location: Hibarigahara Festival Site (雲雀ヶ原祭場地), Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture

4. Uneme Matsuri

(うねめまつり)

Dates: 4th – 6th August 2022

Location: Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture

The Uneme Matsuri which is named after the legend of Uneme (an Imperial Court lady) from the Nara Period is not only a summer tradition in Koriyama, it's the largest festival to take place there! This festival was created as an effort to unite the citizens of the 9 towns and villages that merged together to create Koriyama in 1965. Uneme Matsuri is tuly a sight to be seen, featuring streets decorated with "Uneme lanterns", the beat of the "Uneme Daiko" drum (one of the largest in Japan measuring up to 3.3 meters!), and a "Uneme Odori Nagashi" dancing procession of 6000 citizens dressed in elaborate costumes and dancing in unison. This procession is undoubtedly the highlight of this festival!

Come and experience Koriyama Summer Vibes at the Uneme Matsuri!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): ko-cii.or.jp

Time: 10:00AM – 22:00PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Ekimae Arcade shopping street, Nakamachi Yume-dori, Omachi-dori, Ekimae Omachi-dori

駅前アーケード商店街・なかまち夢通り・大町通り・駅前大町通り

5. Fukushima Waraji Festival

(わらじまつり​)

Date: 5th–7th August 2022

Location: Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture

Named after Japanese straw sandals called waraji, this festival is regarded as the epitome of summer in Fukushima. Featuring a parade of waraji sandals, including a giant waraji sandal, the largest in the country, measuring 12 meters long, 1.4 meters wide, and weighing a hefty 2 tons! The festival spans 2 days with notable events including waraji races and waraji folk dancing to folk and contemporary hip-hop music.

Yamagata Prefecture

Unfortunately, most events in Yamagata Prefecture have been canceled this year :(

1. Yamagata Hanagasa Festival

(花笠まつり​)

Date: 5th–7th August 2022

Location: Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture

Discover Yamagata Prefecture's unique culture through the Yamagata Hanagasa Festival, an annual event spanning across 3 days and featuring close to 15 000 dancers! The festival has grown to become a major event, and is considered one of the great summer festivals of North-East Japan. The festival's main event is the groups of dancers waving hats intricately decorated with orange safflowers,the flower of Yamagata Prefecture!

2. Dewasanzan Shrine Flower Festival

(花まつり 出羽三山神社)

Dates: 15th August 2022

Location: Murayama City, Yamagata Prefecture

The "Hana Matsuri," or Flower Festival, is an annual festival by the shrines of the Denwasanzan —which enshrine deities of agriculture— to pray for an abundant agricultural harvest. The festival was originally held over 96 days from April 8th to July 14th (lunar calendar), with the grand ceremony taking place on the "Summer Peak," during which flowers offerings were made, bells were rung at midnight and dawn to pray for enlightenment, peace in this world, and in the next too.

The Festival consists of an ancient ritual ceremony at the shrine, traditional performing arts including Kurokawa Noh, Haguro Taiko drum performances, and a mikoshi (portable shrine) procession around the Mitarashi Pond, which is located in front of the shrines. The highlight of the festival is when visitors fight over the "manto" in the lantern to take back home with them. The lanterns with artifical flowers called "manto," which decorate the portable shrines, are considered a "rice flower". If taken home and displayed on the door of your house, it is said to be a talisman for good harvest, safety in the home, and the guardian warding off evil spirits.

This year, the festival will be held on a reduced scale, with the mikoshi procession of the shrines of the Dewasanzan being reduced from 3 to 1. However, some of the Shinbai events that were canceled last year, such as the dedication of Haguro taiko drums, will be held!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): denwasannzan.jp

Time: Not Specified

Entry Fee: None

Location: The top of Mt. Haguro (羽黒山山頂)

3. Murayama Tokunai Matsuri

(むらやま徳内まつり)

Dates: 19th – 21st August 2022

Location: Murayama City, Yamagata Prefecture

The Murayama Tokuchi Festival will be held for the first time in three years! In past years, the first day of the festival was an evening festival with a stage performance at the Fureai Plaza, but this year a dedication performance without a stage performance will be held instead. On the second and final day, a parade will be held, but instead of going around Fureai-dori and Tateoka shopping street —as in previous years— the parade will be held only on Fureai-dori. Tateoka shopping street will, however, become a pedestrian paradise with stalls! The main event, the Tokunai-bayashi Parade, will be shortened to a straight line instead of circling the area.

Come and experience the hot summer in Murayama!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): murayamatokunai.jp

Time: 3:00PM – 7:00PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: JR Murayama Ekimae, Fureai Street, Tateoka Shopping Street

JR村山駅前・ふれあい通り・楯岡商店街他

Iwate Prefecture

1. Hirai-izumi (Mizukake Mikoshi) Summer Festival

(平泉水かけ神輿)

Dates: 16th – 17th July 2022

Location: Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture

The townof Hiraizumi was once the battlefield between two brothers: Minamoto no Yoritomo and Yoshitsune. The Hiraizumi Summer Festival is a "portable shrine" (mikoshi) "water throwing" (mizukake) yearly event held in late July. On the evening before the main festival, a night-time market, folkloric dances performd by the townspeople and local entertainment can be enjoyed. The Hiraizumi Daimoji Mountain Bonfire is also held yearly on the 16th as a memorial service for those who perished at war, and in memory of the spirits of our ancestors. The fire is ignited by immortal Buddhist lanterns passed down through the ages at Chuson-ji Temple. From a far, you can admire the giant chinese character 大 (big) ablaze on the top of the mountain.

On the day of the main festival, mikoshi portable shrines are paraded all the while being showered with purifying water along the way! This summer festival brings together over 500 locals, as well as many visitors from all over the country. Come and join in on the local festivities, and cool down on a hot summers day!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): hiraizumi.or.jp

Time: 

  • 16th July: 4:30PM – 6:30PM
  • 17th July: 9:30AM – 3:30PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Hiraizumi Town, Iwate

西磐井郡平泉町内

2. Tsunagi Onsen Gosho Lake Festival

(つなぎ温泉御所湖まつり​)

Dates: 31th July 2022

Location: Morioka, Iwate Prefecture

Enjoy a variety of events including traditional Sansa Odori dance, the Otsutsumi drum, a stage event featuring a large portable shrine, and the spectacular annual fireworks display that will bring a pang of color to Lake Gosho!

Details

Event Page (Japanese): iwatetabi.jp

Time: 7:45PM – 8:15PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Around Gosho Lake , Morioka, Iwate Prefecture

3. Hayachi Shrine Annual Festival

(早池峰神社 例大祭​)

Dates: 31st July – 1st August 2022

Location: Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture

Courtesy of the Hanamaki Tourism Association

The annual festival of the Hayachine Shrine —which has long been worshipped as a sacred mountain— is held on July 31st and August 1st. This festival is famous for its nighttime kagura performance: the Hayachine Kagura, which has been designated as a national Important Intangible Folk Cultural Asset!

The first day of the festival is purely a Kagura event, featuring both a Dake and Ooedo Kagura 6 hour performance at the Kaguraden (Kagura Hall). On the second day, after a Shinto ritual at the shrine's main hall, the portable shrine procession makes a round of the Dake area. This procession is led by yamabushi (mountain priests) blowing conch shells, and followed by a Kagura performance by children at the Kaguraden.

Details

Time: 

  • July 31st: 6:30PM – 11:00PM
  • August 1st: 10:00AM – 4:00PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Hayachi Shrine, Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture

4. Morioka Sansa Odori Festival

(さんさ踊り祭​)

Date: 1st–4th August 2022

Location: Chuodoori Street, Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture

Sansa Odori Matsuri is not only one of the 5 Great Festivals of Tohoku, but it is also the largest drum parade in the world! The festival features a 1km-long parade of over 10 000 drummers and dancers performing down Morioka City's Chuodoori Street in perfect synchronisation. In addition to the main parade, "Traditional Sansa Odori Special Performances," which are unique to the particular district they originated from and have been passed down since the creation of the city of Morioka, can also be admired. Enjoy the variations both in terms of costume and dancing style of each district, along with the rich culture of Iwate Prefecture!

5. Ichinoseki Summer Festival

(一関夏まつり)

Date: 5th – 7th August 2022

Location: Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture

The Ichinoseki Summer Festival will finally be held again for the first time in 3 years! This year marks the 69th edition, and will feature Tanabata Festival and the Iwai River Fireworks Display of approximately 10,000 fireworks on the 5th. The following day, a local entertainment festival, a parade of "Nidaime Toki no Taiko" and the Kurukuru Odori Grand Parade will be held. The final day will be filled with festivities by the Ginza Oryujin parade and Iwai Junior Taiko Drumming performance. Get ready for streets dazzled up with large Tanabata decorations, parades of drums and flutes, and so much more.

Details

Official Page (Japanese): iwatetabi.jp

Time: Not Specified

  • Fireworks (5th): 19:15PM – 20:30PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Omachi Street and surroundings, Ichinoseki, Iwate

6. The Sanriku-Ofunato Summer Festival

(三陸・大船渡夏まつり)

Date: 6th – 7th August 2022

Location: Ofuna, Iwate Prefecture

The Sanriku-Ofunato Summer Festival is a large-scale event that has become a summer tradition in the Kesen District, attracting many tourists from both within and outside the prefecture. Held over two days, the highlight of the first day is undoubtedly the Kaijou Tanabta (lit. "Tanabata over water") parade featuring a fleet of gorgeously decorated boats navigating through the Ofunato Bay. The fishing boats are exquisitely decorated with paper streamers, blow-up streamers, and many other traditional decorations. Here, you can also admire the "Barren Boat" with a bamboo pole embellished with 30 000 paper streamers, as well as the Kaijo Tanabata Song Show. On the second day, the streets come alive with lively dancing, and a whopping 8,000 fireworks illuminate the night's sky in a must-see spectacle of light and music!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): ofunatocci.or.jp

Time: 

  • Parade (6th): 18:00PM
  • Fireworks (7th): 19:30PM – 20:30PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Ofuna, Iwate

7. Kitakami-Michinoku Performing Arts Festival

(北上・みちのく芸能まつり)

Date: 6th – 7th August 2022

Location: Kitakami, Iwate Prefecture

The Kitakami Michinoku Performing Arts Festival is an annual event held in Kitakami City, Iwate Prefecture. Every year, about 100 performing arts groups perform traditional local folk arts, such as "Onikenbai," where people dancing heroically while wearing Oni demon masks, and "Shishi Odori" (deer dance).

On the final day of the festival, admire the spectacular fireworks display, which is beautifully synchronized with the changing intensity and speed of both exciting music and narration. The parade of floats, which has a history of more than 370 years in this region, is also held at the same time. Lanterns illuminate the surface of the Kitakami River with an enchanting flickering light. Every year, about 100 performing arts groups perform traditional local folk arts such as "Onikenbai" and "Shishio Odori," in which people wear masks of ogres and dance heroically.

Don't miss out on experiencing Iwate culture this summer!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): geinoumatsuri.com

Time: 

  • 6th: 10:00AM – 19:00PM 
  • 7th10:00AM – 20:30PM
  • Fireworks: 19:30PM – 20:30PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Kitakami River Front, Iwate

Akita Prefecture

1. Akita Kanto Matsuri

竿燈まつり

Date: 3rd – 6th August 2022

Location: Akita, Akita Prefecture

This 270 year old tradition practiced in Akita was originally meant to ward off illness and evil spirits in the midsummer. Later, it became the festival praying for bountiful harvests, complete with a signature display of lanterns, called Kanto, lighting up the night sky. These incredible lanterns of varying sizes are made up of a total of 280 bamboo poles and are decorated with 10 000 lanterns, which closely resemble ears of rice swaying in the summer breeze, and embody the wishes of the locals for a good harvest.

2. Tanabata Edoro Matsuri

七夕絵どうろうまつり

Date: 5th – 7th August 2022

Location: Yuzawa, Akita Prefecture

One of the three major festivals of Yuzawa with a history dating back 300 years, this festival is said to have originated from the actions of a young princess of the Takatsukasa family (one of Kyoto's noble families), who was married off to the 11th lord of the Satake Minami family from the Akita Clan. According to folklore, she turned her incessant thoughts, nostalia, and longing for her hometown into five-colored paper strips and hung them onto bamboo branches in an effort to console these feelings.

Since then, people have been hanging five-colored paper strips on the bamboo branches in front of the gates to their houses during the festival. What's more, the event features approximately 150 paper lanterns decorated with Ukiyo-e pictures of beautiful women displayed throughout the streets of Yuzawa. The lanterns take over a month to complete, afterwhich they are proped onto wooden frames and covered in plastic to prevent tearing and damage from the rain. At dusk, the lanterns are lit, elegantly illuminating the streets with color!

These lanterns are a rare sight even in Japan and should definitely be on your must-see bucket-list!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): city-yuzawa.jp

Time: 3:00PM – 9:30PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Yuzawa Main Shopping Street, Akita Prefecture

3. Kosaka Tanabata Festival

小坂七夕祭り

Date: 6th – 7th August 2022

Location: Kosaka, Akita Prefecture

The Kosaka Tanabata Festival can be traced back to the end of the Meiji period, when the miners from all over Japan who moved to Kosaka to work at the then prosperous Kosaka mine, gathered together to share their memories and nostalgia for their respective hometowns. Today, floats modeled after Aomori Nebuta Warrior Dolls, cartoon characters, and other pop culture icons and ideas are paraded through the town every year to the beat of ohayashi drums and harmonica-infused one-of-a-kind musical performances. The highlight of the event is the parade that takes place on the second evening, a must-see this summer!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): town.kosaka.akita.jp

Time: Not Specified

Entry Fee: None

Location: Eirakucho and surrounding neighborhoods, Kosaka, Akita Prefecture

4. Hanawa Neputa Festival

花輪ねぷた

Date: 7th – 8th August 2022

Location: Kazuno, Akita Prefecture

This popular festival has been held in the Hanawa area of Kazuno since the end of the feudal era. It features a parade of giant lanterns from each of the 10 neighborhoods. These are are shaped after the king from Japanese Shogi chess and measure 5-meters high! The floats are accompanied by an ohayashi Japanese orchestra, comprised of the melody of flutes and the beat of 2-meter wide giant taiko drums! The "Nemuri Nagashi" festival on the 8th is also a must-see!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): city.kazuno.akita.jp (the website is not updated)

Time: Not Specified

Entry Fee: None

Location: Hanawa Station and surrounding areas, Kazuno, Akita Prefecture

5. Ogatsu Hanabi Taikai Firework Display

雄勝大花火大会

Date: 8th August 2022

Location: Ogatsu, Akita Prefecture

After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, this firework show that lights up the Ogatsu districtwith 5000 fireworks will make its return this summer 2022!

Details

Event Page (Japanese): akitanote.jp

Time: 7:30 PM – 9:00PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Yakunai River area, upstream of the Shinmangoku Bridge (新万石橋), Ogatsu, Akita Prefecture

6. Omono River Hanabi Taikai Firework Display

雄物川花火大会

Date: 11th August 2022

Location: Akita, Akita Prefecture

Photo courtesy of Akita City Summer Festival Yubutsukawa Fireworks Festival Executive Committee

One of the three major summer festivals in the city of Akita will be back for the first time in three years! This year, however, the event will be held on a smaller scale, with a shorter fireworks display than usual and admission restrictions.

Details

Official Page (Japanese): city.akita.lg.jp

Time: 7:30 PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Omonai River area, Akita, Akita Prefecture

6. Odate Daimoji Matsuri

大館大文字まつり

Date: 11th August 2022

Location: Akita, Akita Prefecture

This iconic summer festival held in the hometown of Hachiko the Loyal Dog, Odate, is known for it's giant "dai" (大 lit. big) chinese character bonfire, whose flames dance on Mt. Houou (literaly Pheonix Mountain). Made up of three strokes, the first measures 120 meters, the second 180 meters, and the final stroke measures 150 meters long. It is one of the largest "daimoji" bonfires in all of Japan!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): city.odate.lg.jp

Time: 8:05 PM – 8:50 PM (the daimoji bonfire lights up at 8pm!)

Entry Fee: None

Location: Nagaki River area, Odate, Akita Prefecture

7. Oga Japan Sea Firework Festival

男鹿日本海花火

Date: 14th August 2022

Location: Akita, Akita Prefecture

Photo Courtesy of the Oga Sea of Japan Fireworks Executive Committee

Enjoy the fantastic spectacle of lights and music featuring a whopping display of 10 000 fireworks! Attracting many spectators every year, this year's theme is "For our Children's Future." Don't miss out on one of Akita's largest firework shows!

Details

Official Page (English): oga-sko.com

Time: 7:30 PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: OGA Marine Park, Oga, Akita Prefecture

8. Yokote Okuribon Festival

(横手の送り盆まつり)

Date: 15th – 16th August 2022

Location: Yokote, Akita Prefecture

The Okuribon Festival will once again color the summer in Yokote this year! The festival is believed to have originated when straw boats were brought out to the river in order to make offerings to those who perished during the great famine of the Edo period.

On the 15th, approximately 400 dancers perform the local bon odori around these straw boats. The 16th, on the other hand, use the boats to enact powerful battles that unfold against a background of gorgeous fireworks!

Don't miss out on this festival full of local culture!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): yokotekamakura.com.com

Time: Not Specified

Entry Fee: None

Location: Yokote City Hall-Main (横手市役所本庁舎前) and Janosaki River Beach (蛇の崎川原) in Yokote, Akita Prefecture

8. Oyu Giant Taiko Drum Festival

(大湯大太鼓まつり)

Date: 15th August 2022

Location: Kazuno, Akita Prefecture

The Oyu Giant Taiko Festival is designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property and is held every year on August 15th to pray for a good harvest and as a memorial service for ancestors. The festival features 50 drums measuring 1.5 meters in diameter all gathered in one place for a truly spectacular performance. These drums are performed by various Giant Drum Corpses, each composed of four drummers: the lead and three supporting drummers.

Details

Official Page (Japanese): city.kazuno.akita.jp

Time: 

  • 11:00AM: Giant Taiko Offering at the Daienji Temple
  • 6:00PM: Giant Taiko Competition
  • 7:15PM: Giant Taiko Festival

Entry Fee: None

Location: Oyu Rest Area (道の駅 おおゆ), Kazuno, Akita Prefecture

9. Oshima Fireworks (Hanabi Taikai)

(雄島花火大会)

Date: 15th August 2022

Location: Oshima, Akita Prefecture

Enjoy the local firework show featuring 1000 fireworks and taiko drum performances! Held in Oshima, an isolated island of Happo Town, this is the perfect event for those looking to watch a beautiful display of firworks light up the night sky without the giant crowds that larger events gather!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): town.happou.akita.jp

Time: 8:00PM – 9:00PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Nakahama Coastline (中浜海岸), Oshima, Akita Prefecture

10. Kakunodate's Sasara Mai

(角館のささら舞)

Date: 15th August 2022

Location: Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture

The dance with a 400 year old history native to Kakunodate known as Sasara Mai, is held today as an annual Obon event to pray for a good harvest. Held for the first time in three years, this event is held to pass on the historic traditions of Kakunodate to future generations .

Don't miss out on discovering the culture and traditions of the former samurai district, Kakunodate!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): tazawako-kakunodate.com

Time: 6:00PM – 8:00PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Tatemachi Pocket Park (立町ポケットパーク), Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture

11. Matsuri Saika Senboku

(まつり彩夏せんぼく)

Date: 15th August 2022

Location: Daisen, Akita Prefecture

Courtesy of daisenkanko.com

Held for the first time in three years, this festival features a Heian procession, various stage shows, and a fireworks display! The main event is the Heian Procession, a 1200-year-old event in which children from Semboku are dressed in ancient traditional dress and light torches as they march through the festival site. Come and get transported through time to a world of peace and tranquility!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): city.daisen.lg.jp

Time: 4:00PM – 8:00PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Hotta Fort (払田柵跡), Daisen, Akita Prefecture

12. Furusato Nishisen Festival

(ふるさと西仙まつり)

Date: 15th August 2022

Location: Daisen, Akita Prefecture

About 1000 lanterns made by children and students of the town flow quietly down the Omono River. From the opposite bank, approximately 2000 fireworks are launched, decorating the night sky for a splendid end to the summer!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): city.daisen.lg.jp (not updated)

Time: 7:40PM – 8:30PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Omonogawa Riverbank Area by Kariwano Bridge (雄物川河川敷 刈和野橋), Daisen, Akita Prefecture

13. Donpan Festival

(ドンパン祭り)

Date: 16thAugust 2022

Location: Daisen, Akita Prefecture

After being first canceled by a typhoon, and then by the pandemic, the Donpan Matsuri will be back after a four-year hiatus this August! Featuring 2000 dancers, performances by local children, and entertainment through traditional performing arts, this major summer event should be on anyone’s bucket list. Filled with power, simplicity, fun, folk song, and fireworks, this Japanese Matsuri won’t disappoint!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): donpan.hana.jp 

Time: From 2:00PM (last event at 6:00 PM)

Entry Fee: None

Location: Daisen City Nakasen Office (大仙市中仙支所), Daisen, Akita Prefecture

14. Nishimonai Bon Odori Festival

(西馬音内盆踊り)

Date: 16th – 18th August 2022

Location: Ugo, Akita Prefecture

Bon Odori is a traditional dance believed to have a history dating back 700 years and is designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan. Held for the first time in three years, this festival attracts many visitors who come to admire ohayashi matsuri music performed from atop the Yagura Tower, while rustic singing accompanies the Kamigata (former colloquial term for the Kansai Region) Style dance which flows in the streets of Nishimonai.

The highlight of the festival is undoubtedly the impressive unique style of the dance performed in the hand-sewn indigo tie-dyed yukata. More intruiging still, the dancers hide their faces with braided hats as they perform their local bon odori!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): town.ugo.lg.jp

Time: 7:30PM – 10:00PM

Entry Fee: None (payed seating available)

Location: Ugo Downtown Area, Akita Prefecture

14. Hitoichi Bon Odori

(一日市盆踊り)

Date: 18th – 20th August 2022

Location: Hachirogata, Akita Prefecture

Hitoichi Bon Odori is considered one of the three major Bon Odori festivals in Akita Prefecture, held every year for three days at the Hitoichi shopping street. It has a long history and is said to have taken its present form around 1662. According to locals, it is a dance to be danced, rather than to be watched, so don't be shy and join on in! Enjoy a typical Japanese summer thanks to dancers in yukata and colorful costumes singing and dancing to the drums and flutes!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): town.hachirogata.akita.jp

Time: Not Specified

Entry Fee: None

Location: Hitoichi Shopping Street (一日市商店街), Hachirogata, Akita Prefecture

15. Hanawa Bayashi Festival

(花輪ばやし)

Date: 19th – 20th August 2022

Location: Kazuno, Akita Prefecture

Extravagant golden yatai floats are paraded throughout the night to the sound sophisticated melodies, gorgeous flutes, and majestic drums. Registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008, it is considered one of the three most popular festivals in all of Japan. It has been passed down from generation to generation as a festival festival of Sakiwai Inari Shrine.

The highlight of the festival is undoubtedly the incredible gathering of floats from ten different town infront of Hanawa Station at around 8:00 p.m.

Details

Official Page (Japanese): town.ugo.lg.jp

Time: 

  • 19th August: 12:00PM – 6:00AM
  • 20th August: 2:00PM – 3:40AM

Entry Fee: None (payed seating available)

Location: Hanawa Station and surrounding areas, Kazuno, Akita Prefecture

16. Moritake Onsen Summer Festival

(森岳温泉夏まつり)

Date: 21st August 2022

Location: Mitane, Akita Prefecture

Every August, the Moritake Onsen Summer Festival is held at Sosaburo Park in the town of Mitane.

 

Many fun events are hosted, including Junsai Ondo folksongs from Mitane, taiko drums, and yosakoi dancing. Other events include an outdoor concert by a famous artist as well as a fireworks display to mark the end of the summer festival!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): town.mitane.akita.jp

Time: From 11:00AM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Sozaburonuma Park (惣三郎沼公園), Mitane, Akita Prefecture

17. Kemanai Bon Odori Festival

(毛馬内盆踊り)

Date: 21st – 22nd August 2022

Location: Kazuno, Akita Prefecture

Kemanai Bon Odori is one of the three major bon dances in Akita Prefecture. It consists of two dances: "Dai no Saka," which is danced to the ohayashi melody of giant drums and flutes, and "Jinku," danced to the sound of singing only. Both graceful dances are performed in a circle around a bonfire, typically facing inwards and are open to public participation!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): ink.or.jp

Time: 5:00PM – 9:00PM

Entry Fee: None

Location: Kemanai Main Street (本町通り) Kazuno, Akita Prefecture

18. National Fireworks Competition

(全国花火競技大会)

Date: 27th August 2022

Location: Daisen, Akita Prefecture

The Daisen Fireworks Competition is a prestigious competition dating back to 1910, where pyrotechnicians from all over Japan show off their skills in Daisen, Akita Prefecture.

The competition consists of four presentations: “Daytime Fireworks,” “No. 10 Flower Fireworks,” “Free-shaped Fireworks” and “Creative Fireworks”. Participants are required to make their own fireworks and bring them to the competition, where judging will focus on design, color, and creativity. The competition is highly prestigious, with the Prime Minister's Prize being awarded!

Come and enjoy innovative fireworks in Akita this summer!

Details

Official Page (Japanese): oomagari-hanabi.com

Time: 5:10PM – 6:00PM and 6:50PM – 9:30PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adults: 1000 yen 
  • Children under elementary school age: Free

Location: Omono Riverside Ryokuchi Athletic Park (大曲の花火公園), Daisen, Akita Prefecture

Aomori Prefecture

1. Lake Towada Lake Festival

(十和田湖湖水まつり)

Date: 6th – 7th August 2022

Location: Towada, Aomori Prefecture

The Towada Lake Festival, held every year on the shores of Lake Towada, has a rich history spanning over half a century as the marker of the arrival of a refreshing summer in Towada. The fireworks display, which launches 300 fireworks, is held on two consecutive nights during the festival, and is among the most popular hanabi taikai events in all of Aomori Prefecture! One of the festival's most noteworthy features is the Sky Lantern event, held for the first time in 2020 to pray for "peace for people around the world," "the end of COVID-19" and to express "gratitude to medical personnel". The twinkling lights of the lanterns filled with people's wishes, as well as the sparkling display of fireworks being reflected onto the lake's surface are truly a spectacular sight to behold. Consider taking a Night Cruise to admire this scene directly from the lake itself!