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It is said that the Aomori Nebuta Festival originated from a lantern floating ceremony held in the Star Festival, or tanabata. In the Nebuta Festival, 22 large floats are carried along to festival music with haneto dancers. Although Aomori’s summer is short, the festival heats up the summer with sparks of excitement. The festival is held from August 2 to 7 every year. Last year, approximately 2.76 million people visited the festival during the six days.
The Akita Kanto Festival has a long history as a ceremony to drive away illness and maliciousness in midsummer. Performances in which rugged men control a huge pole with lanterns, 50 kilograms in weight and 12 meters in height, are not to be missed. The festival is held from August 3 to 6 every year. Last year, approximately 1.32 million people visited the festival during the four days.
It is believed that the Morioka Sansa Odori Festival is derived from a legend about the banishment of an evil ogre by the god of Mitsuishi Shrine, or the origin of the name of Iwate Prefecture. Various events, including the world’s largest drum parade (recipient of Guinness World Record certificate), and waodori (dancing in a circle), which anyone can join, are held. The festival runs from August 1 to 4 every year. Last year, approximately 1.26 million people visited the festival during the four days.
In the Yamagata Hanagasa Festival, groups of participants in fascinating costumes dance gracefully to the booming cries of “yassho, makasho” and the beat of powerful hanagasa-daiko drums. The waves created by dancers’ hats decorated with red flowers are very beautiful. The festival is held from August 5 to 7 every year. Last year, approximately one million people visited the festival during the three days.
The Sendai Tanabata Festival is Japan’s largest tanabata celebration (star festival) with a long history stretching back to the era of Date Masamune (1567-1636), the first lord of Sendai domain. Colorful tanabata streamers, which beautifully decorate the whole of Sendai City, attract more than two million tourists every year. The festival is held from August 6 to 8 every year. Last year, approximately 2.28 million people visited the festival during the three days.
The Fukushima Waraji Festival is named after huge waraji straw sandals traditionally dedicated at the local Haguro Shrine for healthy, strong legs. The parade, in which one of Japan' s largest waraji sandals—12 meters in length and 2 tons in weight—is hoisted, is not to be missed. Performances featuring the sounds of reggae- and hip-hop-style music called “Heisei Waraji Ondo'' and “Dancing Soda Night,'' respectively, are also worth seeing. The festival will be held on August 4 and 5 this year. Last year, approximately 255,000 people visited the festival during the two days.