Summer-Special Feature: Festivals

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SummerSpecial Feature: Festivals

What to see at the Southern Tohoku summer festivals

Yamagata Hanagasa FestivalYamagata Prefecture

Yamagata Hanagasa Festival – Yamagata Prefecture

Dates and times

Sunday, August 5 to Tuesday, August 7, 2018
6:00 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m.

Note: The dates of the festival are the same each year regardless of the days of the week.

Location Yamagata, Yamagata Prefecture
Toka-machi, Hon-machi Nanuka-machi-dori, Bunsho-kan
Fees Free of charge

Things to see at the festivals

Yassho, makasho! Flower hats spreading group dancing

The Yamagata Hanagasa Festival is sometimes added to the three great Tohoku festivals, making the "four great Tohoku festivals." The word hanagasa refers to conical hats decorated with flowers, and in Yamagata, the prefectural flower, the safflower, is used. Holding their flowery hats in their hands, some ten thousand dancers yell out "Yassho, makasho" in rhythm to the Hanagasa Ondo folk song. Dressed in colorful costumes, the dancers parade through Yamagata in magnificent style, nearly buried by the crowd of spectators along the route trying to get a glimpse of the procession.

Please note that events are subject to change.

Passes we recommend to get to this spot

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

JR Rail Pass for East Japan and Hokkaido

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Sendai Tanabata FestivalMiyagi Prefecture

Sendai Tanabata Festival – Miyagi Prefecture © Photographs courtesy of the Miyagi Prefecture Tourism Division

Dates and times

Monday, August 6 to Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Note: The dates of the festival are the same each year regardless of the days of the week.

Location Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture
Downtown shopping area, throughout the city
Fees Free of charge

Things to see at the festivals

Sendai, the City of Trees, is beautiful, with magnificent bamboo grass decorations and seven traditional decorations unique to Sendai

Tanabata is counted as one of the most important seasonal festivals of the year.

The Tanabata customs continue to this day: On the evening of July 7 each year, people hang colorful strips of paper and decorations on which their wishes are written, to send their prayers to the stars. The Tanabata festival of Sendai is truly one of the best celebrations in Japan. One of the three great Tohoku festivals, the Sendai Tanabata Festival attracts more than two million visitors from around Japan each year. And the magnificent decorations are not the only special feature. For four centuries, these fine traditions of have been maintained, even in modern times, including the hanging of the traditional seven Sendai decorations from bamboo decorations and Tanabata decorations hand-made from genuine Japanese washi paper.

Please note that events are subject to change.

Passes we recommend to get to this spot

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

JR Rail Pass for East Japan and Hokkaido

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Soma NomaoiFukushima Prefecture

Soma Nomaoi – Fukushima Prefecture

Dates and times Saturday, July 28 to Monday, July 30, 2018
Location Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture
Hibarigahara site (main venue), other locations
Fees Hibarigahara admission tickets
Adults: 1,000 yen, children (junior high-age and younger): free
On sale the day of the event

Things to see at the festivals

Travel back in time to feudal Japan! This gorgeous "battle scroll" is a peerless masterpiece

Soma Nomaoi, which boasts more than a thousand years of history, is a traditional horse event designated as a national important intangible folk culture asset. Five hundred samurai knights attired in armor passed down from their ancestors take part in this spectacle that spreads out like one of the many scrolls depicting battles of old.

The largest horse event in the world, Soma Nomaoi, is filled with throngs of visitors.

Please note that events are subject to change.

Passes we recommend to get to this spot

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

JR Rail Pass for East Japan and Hokkaido

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As of June 2018.