Welcome to Aomori The northern most city on Japan’s honshu island. Head to the Aspam building for tourist information. You can’t miss it. Aomori’s bay bridge is also quite a sight But we are here for my favorite summer festival. Nebuta. The Nebuta Matsuri is Japan’s top 3 festivals. And in this episode, I’m gonna show you why. These devilish face is everywhere. They are ONI or gods. and part of the Nebuta festival. Grab your “haneto” yukata. and get ready for the action. These floats are the Nebuta up to 12m long. At night, they light up and dazzle Aomori City streets. especially at the intersection where the spin. Taico drums. Flutes. and Haneto dancing. The colors and details are magnificent. all painted onto paper. Of course there is local food. The Nebuta Matsuri is my favorite summer festival in Japan. It’s a must see, and anyone can participate. That’s what I’m here to do. Buy a Haneto Yukata The Yukata set cost me about 12,000 yen. with the hat and sandals. You can also rent it all for 3000yen at several shops on the main street. It’s not so easy to put on. but when it’s on, it looks good. Let’s get it on! So this is the Nebuta Yukata with the Hanagasa, the hat. As you can see, it’s um…. really colorful. The shoulders are kinda tight. It keeps you posture upright for dancing. Let’s see the back. Got lots of bells on it so everybody knows you’re coming. Of course in the Hanagasa, There is a dove A beautiful bird. I’m ready for this. There are photos from as early as 1917. But the history of Nebuta can be traced back to the 1600s. The Edo Period. The Nebuta got bigger and more complex every year. I met a well respected Nebuta Master designer. who showed me his float It’s based on a famous story from China that is also well known in Japan. Tezuka san showed me the inside of his Nebuta You can see good example of the constructions in the Nebuta Warasse Museum nearby. The lighting is strategically attached to the frame. Surrounded by metal wiring. and this white paper. A mistake one painting is costly. Tezuka san explains more about the Nebuta Festival. At this year’s Nebuta Matsusi, Starwars made its appearance. Made in the traditional style, the Jedi looks even more tougher. Luke And master Yoda Way cooler when lit up. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. It’s time As I said, anybody can participate. Just jump into a Haneto dance area. and join the parade. Only those with Haneto Yukatas are allowed. 5 minutes. Actually I don’t know how to do the Haneto dance. I’m hoping it’ll come to me naturally. That’s all there is to the Haneto dance. Upfront, the parade warms up. The Nebuta floats start the journey around the 3 km loop Not stopping until they hit the 2 hour mark In our group, the Haneto leader rouses us with a megaphone. The energy level is amazingly high. The floats, lights, crowd, music, dancing You just absorb it all. Summer in Aomori is hot and humid. Temperature is around 30 degrees celsius. but the humidity is what is most brutal. You’ll need a fan. or a group of fans. It’s a life saver. We’re rounding the corner of Hotel Aomori. There are times when the dancing pauses. What happened? Up ahead is a big intersection. Nebuta often spin, and put on a show from corner to corner. The louder the crowd applauses, the higher chance the Nebuta will come your direction. This is the only time to catch your breath. before diving into the intersection 2. and dance like mad. The crowd expects it. Joining the Haneto dance is a great way to emerge yourself into culture. Meet locals, and meet new friends. As the Nebuta designer said, All the elements do come together. Dancers, float pushers, musicians, and crowd. Everything feels as one. What exactly does Rassera, Rassera mean? No one knows for sure. It could mean take out. The lights inside the floats which used to be candles. or possibly run away from those scary looking giant figures. This is awesome. Nebuta Matsuri, baby! Aomori Japan What are you waiting for? It’s a long day. A long day but a lot of fun. With these socks and sandals, your feet really really hurt after.. after jumping around. So don’t start jumping until the festival starts I started jumping around 2 o’clock. It’s not the smartest thing to do. It’s better to lay low and.. As soon as the music starts, then you go for it. if you do it for 2 hours, it felt like a marathon. The sweat was pouring. Every time you went to an intersection, The energy was increased. So did the feeling It’s like a red bull. I can say enough how amazing the Nebuta Matsuri is. Either as a spectator, or as a Haneto dancer. The music sinks into your soul for the rest of the year. until the next time you go Nebuta crazy. and celebrate an amazing Aomori summer in the city streets.