The Nebuta Museum WA-RASSE is a facility that introduces the history and charms of the Aomori Nebuta Festival. At the museum you can experience every aspect of the festival. On display are 4 full-sized floats that participated in the festival in August, and Nebuta Faces that show the individuality of their respective creators
Today we ride to a 16th century temple in Lepakshi. Hidden away in the suburbs of Andra Pradesh, this small town was sufficiently influenced by the stone sculptures of Vijayanagar Empire and includes a huge monolithic bull that sits staring at the Temple.
Mani & I took the train to Kobe to check out the stunning illuminated harbor but we were sucked into the Bon Odori festivities happening on the same day. Food and beer stalls were everywhere. Surrounded by a sea of Kimono clad couples, on a small wooden stage, a group of lovely ladies were dancing to traditional music. It was great fun watching this 500-year-old tradition that is celebrated yearly to honor the spirits of their ancestors.
We landed in Iwatsuki today to see the amazing Togyoku dolls. The collection at Tougyoku Dolls Museum is diverse and the exhibits include imperial court dolls and hina dolls among others. The town of Iwatsuki is famous for its cute dolls and is said to have over 300 doll-makers. They’ve been making dolls here since the 1700s when it was discovered that the Paulownia trees here are excellent for woodcarving. Soon the town became a center for the production of hina dolls, and the tradition continues to this day.
The Nebuta summer festival is a spectacular event held in Aomori Prefecture of Japan, where massive paper lantern floats based on kabuki or mythical stories, flanked by large taiko drums, musicians and dancers parade through the city. For those like me who missed the festival, the floats are kept back at the Museum to enjoy throughout the year.
We took the train to Inakadate to witness the Tambo Art. Tambo Art is an art form originating in Japan where people plant rice of various types and colors to create a giant picture in a paddy field. The massive pictures are elaborately designed using perspective drawing methods to make them look their best when seen from a nearby observation platform.
We step back in time to the Jomon period at the Sannai-Maruyama Ruins. The ruins in the southwest of Aomori is the largest ruins of a Jomon-period village in Japan. Most of the excavated items have been reburied for preservation, but a few excavation sites and artifacts are on display along with reconstructed dwellings, giving us a sense of the daily life of ancient times.
This weekend I was lucky to witness the Awa Odori, a traditional Bon dance. It originated in Tokushima Prefecture and is danced to the lively call of “Yatto San, Yatto, Yatto. The dance has a history of about 400 years, and is one of the largest festivals in Japan.
Today we went to explore the Yoshinogari ruins, that spreads throughout the Kanzaki area of Saga Prefecture. It is one of the largest historical site in Japan, reminiscent of Yamatai Kingdom from the Yayoi Era between 300 BC to 300 AD. The moated village marks the first shift from a nomadic lifestyle to permanent settlements.