Rise of the Nebuta

Summer in Aomori
By Sol March in Travelogue

Aomori is home to the largest Nebuta festival in the world, but we had no idea what this meant to the people of Aomori until we stepped out of Aomori’s train station for the first time.

Every summer, thousands of visitors descend on Aomori for the Nebuta Matsuri, a festival where dozens of skillfully-crafted floats of highly stylized warriors are carried by dancers through Aomori’s streets. But the Nebuta just don’t disappear when the festival is over.

Nebuta are everywhere in Aomori.

Right in front of the train station is a billboard bearing the iconic visage of a Nebuta warrior.

Nebuta Billboard Nebuta Billboard

When we reach our hotel, we are greeted by three large Nebuta samurai who live next door.

Nebuta Building

The samurai have seen better days, but they still pack quite a punch.

Even just walking down the street, you get the feeling that Nebuta are all around you.

Angry Nebuta Street Sign Nebuta Mailbox Nebuta Mailbox Nebuta Mailbox Nebuta Fish Floats

We head for Aomori’s waterfront to take in the ocean view and end up following some nice old ladies into a museum. Surely we’ll escape the eternal gaze of the Nebuta in this peaceful place.

Entrance to Warasse Nebuta Museum

No such luck, because this is the Warasse Nebuta Museum, the headquarters of the Nebuta horde if there ever was one.


We accept our fate. After all, we are in Aomori, land of the Nebuta.

Summer in Aomori

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