Witness the festival with the largest taiko drum ensemble in the world
Morioka Sansa Odori Festival, held from August 1 through 4, is one of the Five Great Festivals of Tohoku. Over 30,000 drummers and dancers parade through the city in four days; Sansa is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ensemble of taiko drum performers in a festival in the world. Legend has it that the Sansa dance began when a wicked demon was punished by the god of the Mitsuishi Shrine. The god made the demon swear that he would never do bad deeds again, and as a sign of his pledge, the demon placed his hand on a large rock and left a handprint. The locals rejoiced, dancing around the rock. This story explains the origin of Sansa, as well as the name "Iwate," which means "rock hand."