Festivals & Events
The Hirosaki Neputa Festival is deeply connected to Aomori Nebuta Festival. This is one of the four largest festivals throughout Japan and features amazing displays of light and sound.
The Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri takes place throughout the streets of the Hirosaki Castle District and can be accessed by train and bus.
The festival features three parade routes. One of the courses passes close to Hirosaki Station. The other two are accessible by bus. Many bus stops are close to one or more of the parade routes. Alternatively, you can walk from either Hirosaki Station or Hirosaki Castle to any of the locations.
It's often said that the Hirosaki Neputa Festival is more elegant and low key than the wild and frenetic Aomori Nebuta Festival. They are actually two sides of the same coin. Nebuta, in Aomori, celebrates the preparation for battle with its intense energy. Neputa, on the other hand, marks the victorious return of troops from combat.
The giant taiko drums that are played in the Neputa Festival are probably its greatest highlight. The low, deep notes can be felt to your core.
Three Odaiko are in the Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri, all of which have been given names. The Tsugaru Joppari Odaiko is 3.3 meters in diameter and weighs 2 tons. The other two odaikos are known as Tsugaru Go Joppari Odaiko and Dotten Daiko.
Another legend about the Neputa Matsuri is that it is derived from an event held in mid-summer by farmers. During this time, when farm work is at its peak, the farmers get very little sleep. During the event, lanterns and lights were used to drive away the invisible demon that made the farmers drowsy. The modern Neputa Matsuri may have inherited the use of lanterns from this old farming tradition, but now they are used to celebrate.