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Nakanobu Nebuta Festival, Tokyo

The annual Nebuta Festival in the northern Japanese city of Aomori is one of the most iconic and spectacular festivals in the country. A highlight of the Japanese summer and listed as one of our Top #10 Travel Experiences, if you ever have the chance to go, you won’t regret the travel time to get there.

Although the continued heat and humidity might tell a different story, summer has come to an end for another year. Yet if you missed the early August festivities in Aomori, there’s still a chance to get a taste of what the festival has to offer right here in the country’s capital. If you find yourself in Tokyo this weekend, head to the sleepy suburb of Nakanobu for your own glimpse into what makes the nebuta so special.

Held only once every two years, this year’s Nakanobu Nebuta Matsuri (Nakanobu Nebuta Festival) will feature six of the actual nebuta floats from the Aomori Festival. From noon, you can enjoy traditional food and drink from the Aomori region along with music and dance performances, while the parade featuring the giant, illuminated floats will begin from 5pm.

Date: Saturday, 15 September 2012

Time: 12pm-8pm (parade from 5pm)

Location: Nakanobu Skip Road

Access: From Shinjuku, take the JR Yamanote Line (inner loop) to Gotanda (14 mins), then change to the Toei Subway Asakusa Line and get off at Nakanobu Station (4 mins).

Official website (sorry, Japanese only)

For more info on the Aomori Nebuta Festival, its origin, infamous floats and why it is one of our favorite Japanese festivals, click here.

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Liz Picking

Thursday 13th of September 2012

Hey Jess & Hai After all those amazing advendures you guys must need a good chillout zone. I have a question if it's possible to answer. Where in Japan do u consider the best Bath House to be and why?

Jessica Korteman

Friday 14th of September 2012

That’s a tough question as there are so many great bath houses across the country. But if I had to choose one I would say Shinzaemon no yu (新左衛門の湯) in Yamagata. It’s beautiful inside of course but I think the main reason I have such fond memories of it is because I have had some of the best interactions with local people there – some older women even dressed me in yukata (summer kimono) there one night for a festival. Having a bunch of naked retirees fussing over you and debating which bow they should tie (as there are many options) was quite the experience! It’s also the best my yukata has ever looked hahaha Here is the website for the place: I was thinking of posting about bath house etiquette for those who are wanting to try out a bath house/hot springs but are not quite sure what do to once they enter. If readers are interested, I’d be happy to put a guide together.

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