Traditional Festivals in Aomori : Aomori Nebuta - 1
(Aomori city, Aomori, Japan)

At the moment when a Nebuta float pulled to the menfolk has run toward spectators at full speed, I felt strength most in the Aomori Nebuta.

Even pulling a 4-ton of float by about ten persons is a big task, and yet they ran a street with 30-meter width at full speed and uttering a big voice. To be precise, they dashed aslant from the one side to the other side of the wide street, and, just before colliding against spectator seats, they braced their legs to stop the float, and soon, without taking breath, they changed the course 90 degrees and went to the opposite side. It was a repetition of the short-distance running of 45-meter.

Receiving at the front seat a big float and the menfolk that were coming at full speed so that those might be about to jump into the seats, spectator's adrenalin went up, then, at the moment the float carried out the quick stop just before the rope stretched on the sidewalk, their absurd energy with excessive force got down to the spectators on the seat and they were also filled with energy. That gave vigor to them.

During one week of the beginning in August, Aomori city is filled with delight of Nebuta. It is a big festival that tourists more than 3 million people visit and 20 Nebuta performing teams have hundreds of members for each team. In the afternoon, the main street overflowed with streams of people going to-and-fro and, along a route of parade, staffs were very busy at preparing seats.

At 7:00 p.m., a festival started under the sky where brightness still remained. The Nebuta parades around the downtown.

The lead of each team was a group of musical accompaniment. Bass drums led and traditional flutes and cymbals called Jangara followed. The melody of flute plays a pity tone. But, since the rhythm, which drums and the Jangara beated, was well articulated, the whole tune sounded quite forcefully. I noticed that my body was also shaking according to sound.

Appearing in the next was a float as the main performance. As it became darker, the form with a theme based on the Kabuki or a historical fact appeared in a vivid manner so that it would be brought to life. Furthermore, speed was added, so it seemed that each of decoration began to move by itself.

And, at last, the Haneto (that literally means jumping people) who was familiar in the shout of "Rasserah”, appeared. They hopped on one leg crazily with the vivid flower-hat on the head and showing the blue underskirt under the summer kimono which sleeves were tucked up with a cord. The dance is not difficult and does not have a special choreography, but anyhow it is a dance like discharging energy.

Even if they had a short break each time the floats halted, they had to continue dancing on one leg during 3 hours, so it is an incredible dance. Can you continue hopping during 3 hours ? Impossible !. And a leg must have a cramp. In fact, as the finish time became closer, the Haneto dancers were also breathing stertorously. Compared with a float which young menfolk pulled, the Haneto dancers were composed of various age groups, so stertorous breathing was natural. But, as one of spectators, I wanted them to maintain energy crazily until the end. Because, those who were completely exhausted made infect the tiredness to spectators who saw them. It was a little regrettable that the energy that obtained from the menfolk was taken away by the Haneto at the end of the festival.

Although I watched the festival in fragments through the news of television, the force of the Aomori Nebuta before my eyes was unusual. Aomori where a severe and long winter continues gives a dark impression, but the strength of the Aomori Nebuta corrected my prejudice. Aomori was also the stage of the famous movie 'Aoi Sanmyaku (Blue Mountain Range) ” that was a symbol of bright and free society brought with the end of the World War II. So, Aomori may be a place of the Yo (sun) and, when the Yo shut up during the long winter appears, it may become tremendous power.

To Japanese Version

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Transportation
From Tokyo to Aomori
by train
: 3 hours 20 minutes from “Tokyo Station” to “Shin-Aomori Station” by Shinkansen (high speed train), one service per one hour. Then, 10 minutes from “Shin-Aomori Station” to “Aomori Station” by local train connected with Shinkansen, one service per one hour .
by air : 1 hours 20 minutes from “Tokyo Haneda Airport” to “Aomori Airport”, about 6 services ecah day. 30 minutes by bus from “Aomori Ariport” to “Aomori Station”.

From “Aomori Station” to the site of Aomori Nebuta
The site is within downtown Aomori around “Aomori Station”.

Link
Aomori Nebuta Official Site

Aomori City Office
Aomori City Guide

Aomori Sightseeng Guide

Accommodations
Acoommodations in Aomori

References
"ÂXŒ§‚Ì—ðŽjŽU•à" (ÂXŒ§‚“™ŠwZ’n•ûŽjŒ¤‹†‰ï•Ò, ŽRìo”ÅŽÐ, 2007)
"}àÂXŒ§‚Ì—ðŽj" (¬“c–«¥’·’Jì¬ˆê, ‰Ío‘–[VŽÐ, 1991)
"O‘O‚Ë‚Õ‚½‘¬•ñƒKƒCƒh2011" (˜HãŽÐ, 2011)
ÂX‚Ë‚Ô‚½ƒIƒtƒBƒVƒƒƒ‹ƒTƒCƒg

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Procession of Aomori Nebuta

Photo by Daigo Ishii

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