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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Festivals & Events

Hirosaki Neputa Festival 弘前ねぷたまつり

The August festival that wards off sleep demons and celebrates victory

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.

Don't Miss

  • The lanterns that are meant to ward off sleep
  • A performance on the giant taiko drums

How to Get There

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.

Part of a pair

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 drums of Neputa

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.

Drive away the sleep demon

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.

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