1 day or more
Forget whatever you’ve heard about the Tohoku locals being quiet and shy…grab your dancing shoes and get ready to party at two of Japan’s most exciting summer festivals!
The tour will kick-off in Eastern Aomori Prefecture, Hachinohe City, known for the vibrant colourful floats of its ‘Sansha Taisai’ festival. But don’t party too hard, as the next morning you’ll be up with the sparrows to explore the 400+ stalls of local food and novelties at Japan’s largest morning market, Tatehana Wharf Morning Market (as seen on ‘Abroad in Japan’).
Next you’ll move to the prefectural capital, Aomori City, for the tour highlight: the world-famous Nebuta Matsuri! Here you won’t just watch from the sidelines…you’ll dress in traditional costume and join the hundreds of ‘Haneto’ dancers, dancing behind the incredible 3D lantern floats.
Recover from the party in the tranquil forests of Oirase Keiryu mountain stream before ending the tour back in Hachinohe City.
Tour price includes all meals (vegetarian catering available on request) and two nights in business-hotel grade accommodation. You will move between locations by rental-car with private driver-guide (English speaking).
*Tour price listed as 300,000 JPY (approx. $2780) . Price will be discounted if more than two persons join the tour (max 4).
Meet at Hachinohe Station at 14:30.
Once all group members have gathered, head to hotel for check-in.
After check-in is complete, head to the festival area to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Hachinohe Sansha Taisai Festival!
Hachinohe ‘Sansha Taisai’ Festival:
Designated as one of Japan’s Important Intangible Cultural Properties, Hachinohe Sansha Taisai is famous for the parade of it’s incredibly ornate and colourful festival floats! The origins of the festival date back close to 300 years ago to a procession of Mikoshi (portable shrines) from Horyosan Ogami Shrine. Over the centuries, the procession has expanded to include the huge festival floats, traditional music and ‘toramai’ (tiger dance). In the 1800s, two other shrines (Shinra and Shinmeigu Shrines) also joined the festivities, creating the ‘Sansha’ (three shrine) festival as it is known today.
Don’t party too hard on Day 1, as Day 2 will be off to an early start!! It will be worth it, though, for a visit to Japan’s largest morning market: Tatehana Wharf Morning Market.
This morning market is possibly one of the best local secrets in Tohoku!! Every Sunday (except during winter) over 400 vendors selling every kind of local food, produce and wares imaginable gather along Tatehana Wharf. The market begins as the fishing boats pull in with their daily haul at dawn and continues until around 9am. Enjoy a delicious breakfast of freshly brewed coffee, baked goods, fried chicken, yakisoba, fresh seafood, fruit smoothies – whatever takes your fancy!! Just be sure to pace yourself as you will be spoiled for choice.
With a satisfied stomach, you’ll next head to Aomori City to get ready for the main event, the Nebuta Matsuri!
Aomori Nebuta Matsuri:
Tonight you will not only enjoy the spectacle of the giant Nebuta festival floats, but you will experience dressing as a traditional ‘Haneto’ dancer and JOIN the party in the parade itself. There will also be plenty of local food and beverages to keep your energy levels high!
At the end of the festival, return to your accommodation in Hachinohe.
Enjoy a slower start this morning!
After checking-out of the hotel, it will be off to the seaside to explore the scenic beauty of the Tanesashi coastline.
Next head to the Hachinohe’s Hasshoku Centre to peruse the markets of fresh seafood and select your lunch! Enjoy your fish fresh or grill up a storm on one of the BBQs available.
The tour will end back at Hachinohe Station around 3pm.