The Nebuta Matsuri, the largest summer festival in Aomori City, is an explosion of colourful lanterns, taiko drum beats, dancing and musical performances. It’s definitely one for the books. If you’re someone who enjoys Japanese culture, you cannot miss it.
Massive lantern floats are ornately designed and splashed with vivid colours and modelled after historical and mythological Japanese characters. And though the origins of the festival remain unclear, it's believed to be a cleansing ritual and prayer for good health to drive away evil spirits.
If you’re looking for an immersive and authentic experience without having to brave the festival crowds, then head over to The Show Restaurant Michinoku Matsuriya in Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya. On top of a stellar Japanese dinner, their show features the festival’s music and dance highlights and shows you how the floats are moved around during the festival.
You’ll also be given the chance to don the colourful festival hat and join in the dance at the Nebuta performance.
The Show Restaurant Michinoku Matsuriya
Price: This restaurant is only available for guests who stay at Aomoriya.
Prices start from 18,000 Yen per person (one room accommodates two people on a share basis, with two complimentary meals)
Address: Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya | 56 Furumagiyama, Misawa, Aomori Prefecture 033-8688, Japan
Opening Hours: Sat-Sun, 6.30PM-8.25PM
How to get there:
Nearest station to Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya is Misawa Station. From JR Hachinohe Station, transfer to the Aoimori Railway bound for Aomori to Misawa Station. It is about 10 minutes' walk to Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya.
If you won’t be staying at the Aomoriya Hotel, you can also experience the festival at Tsugaruhan Neputa Mura, another tourist spot where you’ll be able to soak up the ambience of the Nebuta Matsuri. Although there won’t be a performance like in Aomoriya, the floats here are the same size as the ones used in the festival.
You can also try your hands at playing Taiko drums alongside the Neputa musicians if you dare
By the way, ‘Nebuta’ and ‘Neputa’ both have the same origins, but they seem to be separated by the different dialect in the different area. ‘Nebuta’ is used in Aomori City and ‘Neputa’ is used in Hirosaki City.
Tsugaruhan Neputa Mura
Price: 550 Yen (~S$6)
Address: 61 Kamenokomachi, Hirosaki 036-8332, Aomori Prefecture
Opening Hours: Apr-Nov, 9AM-5PM; Dec-Mar, 9AM-4PM
How to get there:
From JR Sendai Station, take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen to Shin-Aomori Station, transfer to JR Ou Line for Hirosaki. Take the Dotemachi Loop Bus to Bunka Centre-mae bus stop. It is a 5 minute walk to Tsugaruhan Neputa Mura.
Article by TheSmartLocal.com