August 5 -6

Star Festival Duo: Akita Kanto & Sendai Tanabata

Two of Japan's largest summer festivals in two days

NEW CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Due to the continued global spread of the COVID19 virus and the associated impact upon public health and safely in Japan, reservations for all tours and experience programs will be SUSPENDED until May 2020, or until the situation improves and relevant restrictions upon travel are lifted.
We look forward to welcoming you back to Tohoku as soon as possible. In the meantime, please stay safe and well!

~ Inoutbound Sendai Matsushima Inc.

Highlights

Experience first-hand two of Japan’s largest summer festivals – Akita’s Kanto Matsuri and Sendai’s Tanabata!

 

Both festivals share their origins in the ancient Chinese star festival, but each has developed into its own unique and exciting personality over the centuries. 

 

First up is the incredible acrobatic performance of Akita’s ‘Kanto Matsuri’ (pole lantern festival). Kanto performers carry long bamboo poles (some up to 15m) adorned with lanterns, balancing them precariously on their palms, shoulders, foreheads – you name it – all to the sound of traditional music and taiko drumming.

 

In contrast, Sendai’s Tanabata festival is much more subdued but certainly no less colourful! Hundreds of giant ‘Fukunagashi’ decorations made from traditional rice paper are displayed throughout the city, turning the busy shopping arcades into forests of colour and light. 

 

As well as throwing yourself into the heart of the action of both summer events, on this tour you’ll experience the best of the local culture; from local food and Japanese sake to Zen meditation and the chance to wear an authentic traditional ‘yukata’ kimono. 

 

OUTLINE

Two of Japan's largest summer festivals in two days

✔ Watch as festival performers balance 15m bamboo poles adorned with paper anterns
✔ Wear traditional 'Yukata' and walk through forests of Tanabata decorations
✔ Find your inner peace during Zen meditation at a UNESCO World Heritage temple
✔ Dine on local food cooked by a private chef and taste local Japanese sake

Experience first-hand two of Japan's largest summer festivals – Akita's Kanto Matsuri and Sendai's Tanabata!

Both festivals share their origins in the ancient Chinese star festival, but each has developed into its own unique and exciting personality over the centuries.

First up is the incredible acrobatic performance of Akita's 'Kanto Matsuri' (pole lantern festival). Kanto performers carry long bamboo poles (some up to 15m) adorned with lanterns, balancing them precariously on their palms, shoulders, foreheads – you name it – all to the sound of traditional music and taiko drumming.

In contrast, Sendai's Tanabata festival is much more subdued but certainly no less colorful! Hundreds of giant 'Fukunagashi' decorations made from traditional rice paper are displayed throughout the city, turning the busy shopping arcades.

What’s Included

-Experience two of Japan's largest summer festivals
-Yukata (summer kimono) experience
-Zazen meditation experience
-All meals and some drinks
-Transport
-Private English speaking guide
-One night in business hotel grade accommodation

Not included

Any additional meals and drinks
Anything not included in the above 'included' list

Meeting place

TOUR COURSE

DAY 1

Arrive at Kakunodate Station in Akita Prefecture. 

Spend the morning exploring the picturesque streets and traditional buildings of Kakunodate’s former samurai residence district. Enjoy the contrast of the fresh summer green foliage against the dark wooden fences and gates. 

 

After a tasty local lunch, it’s time to start warming up for the evening’s festivities! 

Drop-in to local sake brewery ‘Hideyoshi’ to learn more about the sake making process as well as try some of its premium drops! Hideyoshi has been serving up sake to the Akita locals for over 330 years! 

Once suitably tipsy, it’s off to Akita City and the main event – the incredible Kanto Matsuri (pole lantern festival)! 

 

Akita Kanto Matsuri

 

 

The Akita Kanto festival is an incredible display of acrobatics and skill! Held every year between August 3-6, it is not only the biggest event on Akita’s calendar but has been named one of the top three summer festivals in the Tohoku region (alongside Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri and Sendai’s Tanabata). Watch in awe as performers swap in and out to balance huge bamboo poles adorned with paper lanterns on their palms, heads, shoulders – you name it – with another bamboo piece added to the pole with each change of hands. The largest Kanto pole is around 15m long, carries around 46 lanterns and weighs up to 50 kgs! 

At the end of the evening, visitors have the chance to approach the performers for a chat and perhaps try their own hand at balancing one of the Kanto poles.

After the festival, head back to your private car and drive to Ichinoseki City to stay the night. 

 

DAY 2

In stark contrast to the excitement of last night’s Kanto festival, get the morning of the second day off to a chilled-out start with some meditation in the beautiful temples and gardens of Hiraizumi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After exploring the tranquil Chuson-ji Temple and its famous Konjiki-do (Golden Hall), head to Motsu-ji for a workshop in Zazen meditation.

 

After contemplating life and finding your inner peace, we bet you’ll be ready for some food! Enjoy a local lunch prepared by a private chef inside the stunning Hiraizumi Club Farm & Resort – a traditional farmhouse renovated into a modern, stylish countryside oasis. 

 

Fueled and ready, it’s off to Sendai City for the grand finale – the Tanabata festival! 

 

 

Sendai Tanabata Festival 

 

The festival of ‘Tanabata’ or Star Festival is traditionally celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month across Japan, in accordance to the ancient Chinese star festival which celebrates the night when the stars of Altair and Vega cross in the night sky. In Sendai, however, the festival is always celebrated between August 6-8 and is one of the largest celebrations of Tanabata in the country. From very early in the morning of August 6, giant Tanabata decorations (up to 5m long) are hung throughout the city, including the entire length of the busy shopping arcades. Each of the decorations is unique and contains 7 elements or symbols which are said to bring good fortune. Visitors to the festival are encouraged to write their wishes and prayers for the coming months and tie them to branches which a hung alongside the beautiful decorations. 

 

For the ultimate summer in Japan experience, change into a traditional ‘Yukuta’ (summer kimono) before heading out into the festival. After choosing your favourite design, be dressed by a professional kimono dresser! Head outside to take some colourful photos to capture your incredible experience of summer in Japan! 

 

The tour will finish at Sendai Station around 17:00pm. 

Wave goodbye to summer in Tohoku as you move on to your next destination, or stay on in Sendai to continue the party!

 

TOUR DETAILS

Where
JR Kakunodate Station
Time
1 day or more
Size
2~4
Price
250000JPY~(with TAX) (※approx. 2300 USD)
Sign-up Deadline
Reservations accepted up to one week before tour date (July 29)
Cancellation Policy
The cancellation fee will be required in accordance with the policy below. Up to three days prior, no cancellation fee. Two days prior: 20% Day before: 30% On the day: 100%
Note
If the minimum number of participants is not met the event will be cancelled.

TOUR PLAN

Basic Plan

Price 250000JPY~(with TAX)

Book now!
(Activity japan)

Are you looking for a ‘deeper’ kind of travel?

At Tohoku ‘Local Secret’ Tours we can also suggest custom-made itineraries to meet your travel needs! You want to experience what’s unique to Tohoku.
You want to visit the places where the locals go; the places not listed in guidebooks!
You want to meet and interact with local people. You want to take your time exploring Tohoku so you need a guide, or perhaps an English-speaking driver...
...whatever you need for your Tohoku travel, we have it covered!
Feel free to contact us with any inquiries. We will respond within two business days after receiving your message.

Book now!

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Related Tags

#Miyagi #foodie #eat #localfood #Sendai #experience #drink #sake #nightlife #daytrip #Iwate #morning #seafood #local #countryside #vegan #vegetarian #culture #sustainability #Aomori

Price:
250000JPY~(with TAX)

Book now!