Hirosaki Neputa Festival

Culture - Hirosaki-city

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The Hirosaki Neputa Festival is a summer festival held in the old castle town of Hirosaki. About 80 neputas of various sizes – large fan-shaped floats depicting epic and fantastic images of warriors – parade through the town. In 1980, Hirosaki Neputa Festival was designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Properties of Japan.
Hirosaki Neputa Festival is organized mainly by citizens of Hirosaki. Every year each neighborhood association and citizen group gather together to make elaborate fan-shaped neputas. The key feature of a neputa is the contrast between the gallant kagamie (front picture) and the elegant miokuri (back picture). The neputas parade through town accompanied by flute and taiko (Japanese drums) players. The festival is held annually between August 1st and 7th. The Hirosaki Neputa festival takes place every evening from August 1st to 6th and daytime of the 7th.

Origin of Neputa

Neputa is said to have originated from the event Nemuri Nagashi,a traditional event to banish the invisible sleep demon who makes people drowsy during the summer when farmwork is at its busiest. The use of lantern and light is thought to have stemmed from Nemuri Nagashi, but since evolved into the current neputa.

The Highlight of Neputa Festival: the Ōdaiko

The Ōdaikos (very large traditional drums) is one of the highlight of Hirosaki Neputa Festival. The sound of the ōdaiko is so profound that viewers feel the vibrations to their core. There are three ōdaikos in the city of Hirosaki. One of them is called Tsugaru Joppari Ōdaiko, which was recreated in 1970 based on the myth around the 3rd Tsugaru clan lord, Nobuyoshi. Joppari is an expression in Tsugaru dialect meaning “the stubbornness of people from Tsugaru”. This ōdaiko is 3.3 meters (10 feet) in diameter and weighs 2 tons (4000 lbs); it uses one uncut cow hide for each side of the drum and natural cedar from Akita for the body. The other two ōdaikos are known as Tsugaru Go Joppari Ōdaiko and Dotten Daiko.

Basic Information

Address Hirosaki-shi, Aomori (Dotemachi Course, Station Front Course, Dotemachi Nanukabi Course)
Tel Hirosaki Municipal Tourist Center 0172-37-5501
Period August 1st – 4th : Dotemachi Course 19:00~ August 5th and 6th: Station Front Course 19:00~ August 7th: Dotemachi Nanukabi Course 10:00~
Price Paid Reserved Seats:Adult ¥1,800, Child ¥900
Sale begins around July 1st.
*Other seats are free of charge.
Contact: Hirosaki Tourism Convention and Association 0172-35-3131

URL Hirosaki Municipal Tourist Center(English) http://www.hkg.jp/

Transportation

JR Hirosaki Station Bus Stop 10 minutes on Dotemachi Loop 100 Yen Bus(¥100) Get off at Shita Dotemachi Bus Stop A few minutes walk Sakura Ōdori Paid Reserved Seats (Dotemachi Course)
JR Hirosaki Station 30 Minute walk from JR Hirosaki Station Sakura Ōdori Paid Reserved Seats (Dotemachi Course)

JR Hirosaki Station

Link

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