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【Seasonal】Aomori traditional festival, Nebuta Festival2015.08.04

150804 ねぶた祭り2

Perhaps there are only few foreigners who have heard the Japanese name “Nebuta.” It literally indicates that the doll that appears in one of the famous summer festival, called Nebuta Festival. Every summer, over 3 million people trip to Aomori and enjoy this “Nebuta Festival.” Each float compete in this festival. This festival has been licensed a significant intangible folk cultural asset in 1980.

A dolls, “Nebuta,”has become larger after war. There is a limit of 9 meters in width, 7 meters  in depth, 5 meters in height, and one float is about 3~4 tons. So they look really powerful. Their appearances are based on “Kabuki,” history, or myths and they show vigorous spirit, gorgeousness, and plaintive feeling.

500~1,000 people, called “Haneto” parade with one float putting this big and heavy “Nebuta.” They are jumping, hopping and shouting ‘Rasse! Rasse!.’ There are varieties of origins such as to bring or to become cheerful etc. There are some rules to be “Haneto.” One needs wear a colorful uniform just like Yukata with a conical hat called “Hanagasa” and so on.

Music is also one of the important traits in this festival.  The music is called of “Ohayashi” which includes the people playing  “Taiko” (Japanese drum), “Fue” (Japanese flute) and so on. They start practicing from June to prepare at the festival in August.

Every year, from August 2 to August 7 is the term of “Nebuta Festival.” It starts at 19:00 and ends at 21:00. During this term, Aomori city is too exciting by this traditional festival. There are reserved seats, called Sajiki. If you would better watching rather than dancing as a Haneto, this is one of ways to enjoy the festival. It is sold out very quickly, though.

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