Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri (festival) is a huge event that is held in Hirosaki, Aomori, every year from August 1st over the course of seven days. During this festival, about 80 floats of all sizes called neputa, painted with pictures of soldiers from Chinese history novels such as Sangokushi and Suikoden go around the city along with beautiful sounds of flutes and lively chanting going “Ya-ya-do.” There are many theories regarding the beginning of Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri, and one of them says that it originated from an agricultural event called “nemuri nagashi” (chasing away sleepiness), held in an effort to chase away laziness and sleepiness during the busy summer in agriculture.
Impressive Marching of Neputa
The highlight of Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri is definitely the number of the gorgeous neputa with their powerful paintings of soldiers. The number of neputa that march around the city to the powerful beat of drums in this festival is around 80, the largest in the prefecture, and they include all shapes and sizes such as fan-shaped “fan neputa” and human-shaped “kumi neputa.”
Kids Participate Too!
At Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri, the smallest neputa go first and towards the end, there are large-scale neputa that are over nine meters at the largest. All the different neputa, from the giant ones weighing tons and being pulled by men drenched in sweat to the small charming ones are all worth seeing!
Important Event Wrapping Up the Festival
The last day of Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri is called Nanukabi and an event called Nanukabi Okuri is held on the night of this day. During this event, the neputa that have been pulled through the city for the past seven days are burnt on the banks of Iwaki river and bid farewell in flames, celebrating the finale of the festival.