How to Experience Seven of Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

Summer is festival time in Japan. This holds especially true in Tohoku, the northern part of Japan, where some of the biggest festivals in the entire country take place during the first week of August. For the real festival fans, you can experience as many as seven festivals in just one week. Here’s how.

Tohoku's Festivals in One Week
  • Day 1

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Set off for Tohoku. Depending where you’re starting from, getting to the northern part of Honshu can be done in a few different ways. If you’re travelling from Tokyo, we would suggest catching the Tohoku Shinkansen and riding up to Morioka as the Morioka Sansa Festival tends to be one of the first festivals to commence in August. The trip from Tokyo to Morioka takes roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes. Other options that might be useful if you’re travelling from other parts of Japan include flying into either Hanamaki Airport or Sendai Airport and taking a train to Morioka from there.

  • Day 2

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Get on the Tohoku Shinkansen again, and continue further up north to the Aomori Nebuta festival. This festival attracts around 3 million annual visitors, making it the biggest and perhaps also the most spectacular festival of the bunch. The ride from Morioka to Aomori takes around 1 hour 9 minutes with departures roughly once per hour. The shinkansen station is located slightly outside the city center, however, so to get to central Aomori you need to take a local train (the JR Ou Line) for another five minutes.

  • Day 3

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Your next stop is Hirosaki, where the Hirosaki Neputa festival takes place. To get here, you can jump on the JR Ou line and ride for between 30 to 45 minutes depending on if you’re taking a local or express train. Easy!

  • Day 4

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Today you’ll be riding on the JR Ou line again, heading further south to Akita, a city located near the coast of the Japan Sea. These connections are not as frequent as between the other cities on this trip, so we recommend that you check the train timetable and plan in advance. The ride takes a little over two hours. Another option is to take the scenic Resort Shirakami train, which follows a slower route along the coastline. Although it takes longer and costs more than the regular train, you will be treated to one of the most beautiful train rides in all of Japan.

  • Day 5

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Catch the Akita Shinkansen and ride it all the way to Sendai. Once you get there, transfer to the Tohoku Shinkansen and continue further south all the way to Fukushima City and its quirky straw sandal festival, the Fukushima Waraji Matsuri. In total, this ride takes around three hours with several departures every hour.

  • Day 6

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Hop on the Yamagata Shinkansen and head to Yamagata and the Hanagasa, or Flower Hat Festival. Here you’ll be treated to the biggest dance performances in all of Tohoku, with over 10,000 dancers participating. There’s roughly one departure every hour, and the ride takes around one hour.

  • Day 7

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    Tohoku's Festivals in One Week

    On the last day of this trip you’ll be heading to Sendai, to have a look at the world’s biggest Tanabata festival. During the festival, most parts of central Sendai are adorned with thousands of colorful paper decorations. To get here, enjoy a beautiful mountainous route on a highway bus which will bring you to your destination in just 90 minutes. The departures are frequent with multiple buses every hour, so there’s no need to plan this trip in advance.

    You did it! Seven of the best summer festivals in Tohoku in one week! Since the schedule of the festivals vary on a year by year basis, we highly recommend that you double check the dates of each festival and shuffle around your trips if needed.

    Morioka
    Address
    Iwate Pref. Moriokashi Moriokaekimaedori
    Phone
    Hanamaki Airport(Iwate)
    Address
    Iwate Pref. Hanamakishi Kuzu
    Phone
    Sendai Airport
    Address
    Miyagi Pref. Natorishi Shimomasuda
    Phone
    Aomori
    Address
    Aomori Pref. Aomorishi Yanakawa 1-chome
    Phone
  • Hirosaki
    Address
    Aomori Pref. Hirosakishi Omotemachi
    Phone
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