Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Aomori and the famous Nebuta Matsuri !!!!

Today I am  of to Aomori to see the famous Nebuta festival or Nebuta Matsuri as it is called in Japanese, matsuri being the word for Festival. 

I went to board the train only to find that all the seats in the trains were reserved so I had to stand during the 2 hours train ride from Sendai to Shin-Aomori. It's not that bad as it might sound. 

So after I arrived and change trains to take the local train to the Aomori station something struck me. There was so many people on the platform!!! The train could not take all and we were squished in like sardines in a tin. I was fortunate enough to score myself a place in this tin by undercut methods. I cut the line!!! I feel bad for the other persons there of course but I didn't want to wait for 25 minutes for a new one.

After arriving I did what I had already become accustomed to, went and got myself a map and went to get some grub to fill my gut. I chose my favorite curry house CoCoIchibaya and ordered the usual chicken cutlet curry (chicken katsu curry). 

I left my luggage at the hotel and hurried out to the streets nearby where the festival was going to be held. 
During the festival there were displayed many carriages of huge, artistically made lantern floats.
There were people pulling the floats around and the phrase "Rasse-ra" was chanted constantly as the drums, flutes and small cymbal-like plates played in the background.
The air was ecstatic and people were really enjoying the floats as was I of course!! 

This is the last day of the festival so the floats were paraded on this day during the daytime, where as they would normally be pulled during nigh time since they are, as I said, big lanterns.  

After this stage of the festival had ended I went back to my hostel to take a brake and to eat.
I then later went back out to see the final stage. This was the fireworks at the port side that started at evening. 

There were a lot of people who were crowding the area and there were (of course) stalls selling food, beer, sweets, etc.

The fireworks were pretty but what I did not see coming, and had not heard about, was that the floats were now circulating the port in boats, fully lit! It was a magnificent sight together with the fireworks and the "rasse-ra" chanting and drums made it so spectacular! 
After a long while I started heading back to my hotel.
Today had been great and this day stands to prove that the Japanese festivals are truly amazing! I love them and they are definitely worth the side trip!
Tomorrow I am of to Hakodate in Hokkaido region of Japan. I am looking forward to my stay there but more I am looking forward to my stay in Sapporo since it is one of the biggest cites in Hokkaido.
Cheers.
Robert