- Three days for three festivals:
- The Akita Kanto Festival – the pole lantern festival, an impressive display of skill in which performers balance kanto (tall bamboo masts) with lots and lots of paper lanterns attached.
- The Aomori Nebuta Festival – a parade of enormous lantern floats depicting mythical creatures.
- The Sendai Tanabata Festival – thousands of colourful streamers decorate the entire city, which comes to resemble a brightly coloured forest.
- Travel to and from the north of Japan by bullet train, and by private coach between cities
- Your hotel on the first night is located very conveniently, only 10-15 minutes from the festival
- On your second night, stay in the Hoshino Resort Aomoriya, a traditional Japanese hotel, which overlooks a beautiful lake and has its own hot spring
DAY 1｜AKITA KANTO FESTIVAL
Travel to the north of Japan by bullet train. From Shin-Osaka station to Akita station should take roughly 3 hours and 40 minutes.
On arrival in Akita, both the festival and hotel are in walking distance. You will arrive in good time to see the evening night parades, which are the main event of the Kanto Festival and are always held on the Chuo Dori street in the centre of town. Seating will be reserved for maximum comfort and the best views.
In these impressive displays of skill, performers balance kanto (tall bamboo masts) with lots and lots of paper lanterns attached. The kanto masts come in different sizes and sizes with the largest measuring 12 meters and weighing up to 50 kilograms. They can carry as many as 46 paper lanterns, and are illuminated by real candles. The performers are accompanied by the sound of drums and flutes, and the chanting of onlookers saying “dokkoisho, dokkoisho!” which means “heave, ho!”
Meal Breakfast Lunch Dinner Hotel Comfort Hotel Akita or similar
Hotel Comfort Hotel Akita or similar
DAY 2｜AOMORI NEBUTA FESTIVAL
After breakfast in your hotel, your private coach will take you to the Nebuta Festival in Aomori, to see a fantastical parade of enormous lantern floats, accompanied by large taiko drums, musicians and dancers.
The large festival floats are made of painted paper over a wire frame, and can take up to an entire year to put together, by local craftsmen. They can be up to five meters tall and nine meters wide, and often depict gods, historical or mythical figures, or even kabuki actors.
In the evening, after enjoying the daytime parades, you will be taken by private coach to the grand finale of the festival, a brilliant 2 hour fireworks display over the Aomori City Bay. Some of the floats from the day time will also feature in the fireworks display, as they are ferried about on display in the bay. Seating will be reserved for your utmost comfort and enjoyment.
After the fireworks, your private coach will take you to Hoshino Resort Aomoriya, a truly wonderful hotel set next to a peaceful lake, and kept in traditional Japanese style. It also has its own hot spring – the perfect way to relax after a busy day of festivities!
Meal Breakfast Lunch Dinner Hotel Hoshino Resort Aomoriya or similar
Hotel Hoshino Resort Aomoriya or similar
DAY 3｜SENDAI TANABATA FESTIVAL
After a hearty breakfast, you private coach will take you to the Sendai Tanabata Festival. Tanabata is a festival which is celebrated all over Japan, but Sendai’s Tanabata Festival is the most impressive and famous.
According to legend, the tanabata festival marks the one day of the year in which two celestial lovers (called Orihime and Hikoboshi) are permitted to meet (the seventh day and seventh month of the lunar calendar). On this day, it is custom for people to write their wishes on pieces of paper, and to tie them to bamboo.
In this festival, thousands of colourful streamers decorate the entire city, which comes to resemble a brightly coloured forest. Each set of 3-5 meter long streamers is handcrafted by local shops, schools and community groups out of washi paper and bamboo. They are then hung from ten meter long bamboo poles along the city’s arcades.
Finally, you will be taken by private coach to Sendai station, where you will board a bullet train back to Osaka.
Meal Breakfast Lunch Dinner Hotel