Hachinohe Enburi: A Winter Festival to Awaken the Gods
Every February 17 - 20, the northern port city of Hachinohe, Aomori hosts the colorful and vibrant Hachinohe Enburi Festival in the snowy winter. During the festival, traditional dances are performed to awaken the gods of the fields from their winter slumber, usher in the coming of spring, and ensure a bountiful harvest for the year. Dazzling and unique, the Enburi dances are a beautiful traditional performing art form with a history of around 800 years. The most striking of the dances are those performed by the Tayu dancers. Tayu dancers wear tall, highly ornate hats that are said to represent a horse’s head and mane, which they whip back and forth while almost skimming the ground as they dance. Don’t miss the Issei-Zuri portion of the festival, when all the Enburi groups perform simultaneously in the downtown area of Hachinohe, or the night performances at the Kojokaku, a traditional Japanese mansion, during which bowls of Hachinohe’s famous local specialty senbei-jiru, a type of chicken and cracker soup, are served to guests.