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Matsuri: Tohoku Summer Festivals 2022

Summer time in the Tohoku Region is the time of year when the normally quiet and tranquil communities of the north explode in vibrant colors, with the passion of the locals on full display. After three years of painful cancellations many of Tohoku’s most famous summer festivals were finally able to be celebrate the season and the the traditions, bringing back a much needed sense of community and excitement to the people here.

The Yamagata Hanagasa Festival
山形花笠まつり
The Yamagata Hanagasa Festival is the flagship festival of Yamagata Prefecture. Thousands of performers fill the streets of downtown Yamagata City for a night of festivities. Learn more about the festival at thehiddenjapan.com/kizunafestival.

Akagawa Firework Festival
赤川花火大会
This grand firework festival, regarded as one of the Top 10 firework festivals of Japan, features tens of thousands of fireworks shot into the night sky during the two-hour performance.

The 2022 Akagawa Firework Festival even featured a surprise drone show by Pokemon Go! Find out more about the festival at thehiddenjapan.com/akagawafireworks

Nagai Kurojishi (Black Lion) Matsuri
赤ながい黒獅子まつり
This grand firework festival, regarded as one of the Top 10 firework festivals of Japan, features tens of thousands of fireworks shot into the night sky during the two-hour performance. The Not only were the major festivals of Yamagata back this year, but so too were the local festivals for the smaller communities like the Nagai Black Lion Festival of Nagai City.

The Kurojishi (Black Lion) gathers in one of Nagai City’s shrines to perform an elegant dance. The dances flows out into the city streets toward Shirotsutsuji Park, attracting floods of festival goers each year.

About the Author

Derek Yamashita co-founded The Hidden Japan, a boutique travel company promoting travel to both the deeper regions of Japan, particularly Tohoku, to help travelers explore beyond the big cities and well trodden tourist trails. He works closely with rural communities to create custom tours and experiences for travelers to enjoy alongside locals and foster a deeper understanding of their community.

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