Visitors from Japan and beyond flock to the city of Aomori in the Tōhoku region in early August for the annual Aomori Nebuta Festival. If you’re visiting Hokkaido then, it would be worth your time to stop by. However, if for some reason you’re unable to make it you can still experience the magic through the Nebuta Museum WA-RASSE.
There are many theories on the origin of the Aomori Nebuta Festival. One theory is that these paper lanterns were created to scare of the enemies while another one thinks that Nebuta started as toro, little wooden frame boxes that were lit with candles used during Chinese festivals.
The first part of the museum will bring visitors through the history of festival complemented with black and white photos from yesteryears to more recent times.
There’s even an interactive panel where you can virtually paint and design your very own Nebuta face, the most intricate and detailed part of the float as it requires to most time to complete.
The second part features the massive floats, the winners from last year’s festivals. Here you will be able to witness the glorious glorious designs of the floats and admire the craftsmanship that goes into each of them. They are so complex that it takes them a year from start to finish to complete a float.
The designs are based on myths and historical themes, which is why you’ll notice that most of the floats depict epic battles between warriors and demons.
If you prefer to experience the festival at your own leisure then do make your way over to the museum. Your visit here will give you a better understanding and allow you time to process and absorb the information. Having said that, we strongly recommend that you do go to the festival and join in on the action!
In fact, anyone can join the procession as they parade through the streets. The floats are accompanied by a team of hand cymbal and flute players, and taiko drummers. Everyone is chanting “WA-RASSE, WA-RASSE”, hence the name of the museum but actually doesn’t mean anything.
Getting to Aomori City is made convenient with the service of the Hokkaido Shinkansen between Shin-Hokodate-Hokuto and Shin-Aomori beginning in 2016. Travel time takes about an hour.
9:00 to 19:00 (until 18:00 from September to April)*
*Closed from December 31 to January 1 and August 9 to 10
Adults: ￥600. Student (High School): ￥450. Student (Elementary/
Junior High/ Middle School): ￥250
The Nebuta Museum WA-RASSE is about a five-minute walk north of JR Aomori Station.
GETTING THERE AirAsia X flies to Sapporo – Shin-Chitose from Kuala Lumpur and various destinations. Book your seats now at airasia.com.