Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Russian Korean Japanese Festivals
   The festivals of Akita, filled with praise and gratitude towards the loving bounty
of nature. The ritual prayers to the <i>kami</i> (Japanese gods) have become paeans to the people of the region, and the traditional Buddhist prayers have become the joy of the changing seasons. 4. Museums 3. Hot Springs 2. Festivals 1. Nature
  Nishimonai Bon Dance (Ugo Town)
August 16~18
   This unique dance where the participants do not show their faces is fascinating and mysterious. The harmony of the energetic traditional music and the graceful dance is dazzling.

Tanabata Picture Lantern Festival (Yuzawa City)
August 5~7
   Young bamboo trees with the colorful decorations of Tanabata – an ancient Japanese star festival – decorate every house, and hundreds of picture-lanterns are hung in the streets.

 
Akita Kanto Festival (Akita City)
August 3~6
   This festival, originally intended to usher in a good harvest, is over 250 years old and is counted as one of the three great festivals of the Tohoku region.

Ya-tose Festival (Akita City)
June
   People wear original costumes and perform original dance numbers to the music of a traditional Akita folk song – rearranged rock-style!

Komachi Festival (Yuzawa City)
Second Sunday, June
   Held on the Komachi Terrace, located in Yuzawa's Ono district, where the legendary beauty Ono Komachi is said to have been born.


Mikoshi no Takiabi (Happo Town)
August 1
   Men dressed in white parade throughout the town, carrying the mikoshi (said to be the house of the kami of the shrine) on their shoulders. Finally, they jump into the waterfall-formed pool in the back of the shrine – mikoshi and all!


Tsuzureko Hachiman Shrine Grand Festival (Tsuzureko Great Drum Festival) (Kita-Akita City)
July 14 and 15
   A Shinto ritual praying for rain and good crops. Some of the drums are over three meters in diameter.


Tsuchizaki Float Festival (Akita City)
July 20-21
   Floats decorated with the figures of heroic samurai are sent out by every neighborhood of the district in a great parade, accompanied by traditional Japanese festival music.


Hanawa-bayashi Festival (Kazuno City)
August 19-20
   Amidst the flutes and drumming of traditional festival music, floats extravagantly decorated with unique carvings of dragons and Shinto guardian dogs (Shishi) wind their way throughout the streets of the city.
 
Kakunodate Festival (Float Event) (Senboku City)
September 7-9
   Revelers dance atop floats in time to the music of flutes and drums. The thundering main event comes on the 9th, a collision competition called “Yama-butsuke,” or float-crashing.
 
Omagari National Fireworks Competition (Daisen City)
Fourth Saturday of August
   Said to be the top competition in the nation, firework artisans from throughout Japan gather to test their skills in daylight fireworks, technical precision and creative displays.

 

Kamakura (Yokote City)
February 15-16
   Inside the hollowed-out snow domes called kamakura, the water kami is honored in this 400-year-old festival of the lunar new year. In the evening, children offer amazake (sweet, nonalcoholic rice wine) and sweets from within the brightly-lit kamakura.

Dainichido Bugaku (Kazuno City)
January 2
   This bugaku, or sacred court dance, has been handed down for roughly 1,300 years, making it one of the prefecture’s most ancient performances.

 

Asahiokayama Shrine Bonden (Yokote City)
February 16-17
   Starting at the gates of Asahiokayama Shrine, teams push and shove to be the first to get their bonden (a long pole decorated with Shinto ceremonial items) to the main shrine.

Amekko Market (Odate City)
February 11-12
   It is said that if you eat candy on this day, you won’t catch a cold for the rest of the year – so the market is bustling with people buying and selling all kinds of sweets.


Namahage Sedo Festival (Oga City)
Friday, Saturday and Sunday including the second Sunday in February
   Fifteen namahage (young men wearing ogre masks and straw cloaks) descend from the mountains by the light of torches, and dance wildly about the grounds of the Shinzan Shrine before the sedo, a sacred fire that wards away evil spirits.


Inukko Festival (Yuzawa City)
Second Saturday and following Sunday of February
   Snow-castles with snowy guard-dog statues are built, with small dogs made of rice flour placed as offerings.



Kariwano Great Tug-of-War (Daisen City)
February 10
   The town divides into two districts to carry out this Shinto ritual to Ichigami, the kami of trade. This is the biggest tug-of-war in all of Japan.
 
Hiburi Kamakura (Senboku City)
February 14
   Participants set fire to a sack of charcoal tied to a rope (usually about a meter long) and swing it around themselves. The sacred fire acts as a prayer for health and good fortune for oneself and one’s family.
 
Takeuchi (Misato Town)
February 11-15 (with the main event on the 15th)
   Takeuchi is best translated as bamboo battle, and this event is aptly named. The district divides into north and south, and at the sound of a bamboo flute, the men charge each other, wielding 7-meter-long bamboo poles in heroic battle for this thrilling festival.