The Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri adds brilliant colour to summer. It features about 80 majestic, splendid festival floats, known as Neputa, of various sizes with warrior pictures from the Annals of the Three Kingdoms, the Water Margin, and other classic tales. It is the area’s foremost summer festival, with participants who shout “Yayado” as they parade throughout the castle town of Hirosaki. It is held annually for seven days from 1 August and typically attracts more than 1.6 million spectators. The festival has been designated as one of Japan's Important Intangible Folk Cultural Properties.
There are two types of Neputa floats: fan-shaped Ogi-Neputa and doll-shaped Kumi-Neputa. The small Neputa are paraded first, followed by the large Neputa. You can see the cute sight of children holding Kingyo Neputa (goldfish neputa) in their hands, as well as the powerful sight of men pulling large Neputa that can reach nine feet in height and weigh several tons. One of the charms of the Hirosaki Neputa is the contrast of the Neputa that depict gallant warriors ont the front (Kagami-e) and alluring beautiful women on the back (Miokuri-e). The Japanese music, along with processions of flute and drum players following each Neputa, enliven the festival.
The summer festival in Aomori City features floats known as Nebuta, while Hirosaki’s festival floats are known as Neputa. It is interesting that the pronounciation differs depending of the region. Although there are various theories about the derivation, it is said to have come from a farmer's event known as Nemuri Nagashi, which washed away sleepiness, idleness, and other issues that impede farm work during the busy summer. The name Nemuri Nagashi literally means to wash away sleepiness, and the event is so brilliant and intense that it can do just that.
The parade route changes depending on the day, and various paid spectator seating areas are set up along the Dotemachi route and the station-front route.
- ●Paid seats with chairs
Same price of 2,000 yen for adults and children
●Paid elevated wooden seats
Adults (over high school age) 2,000 yen, children and junior high school students 1,000 yen
- Opening Times
- Dotemachi route: 1 to 4 August from 19:00
Station-front route: 5 to 6 August from 19:00
Dotemachi Nanukabi route: 7 August from 10:00
- ●Dotemachi route: close to Chuo-Hirosaki Station on the Konan Tetsudo Owani Line
●Station-front route: close to Hirosaki Station on the JR lines and Konan Tetsudo Konan Line
- Car Park
- Temporary parking lots are available
- August 1 to 7 every year
- In Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture (Dotemachi Course, Ekimae Course, Dotemachi Nanukabi Course)
- Hirosaki Municipal Tourist Center
- Telephone Number