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A float from the Aomori Nebuta festival parade in Aomori, Japan

From now until August 7, the northern Japanese city of Aomori will be celebrating Aomori Nebuta, a festival (‘matsuri’) that features bright, colourful floats like the one seen in our photo. The history of how the festival began depends on who you ask and what you read. But the way to celebrate is to join or watch the parade that is the centerpiece of the observance. The floats depict mythic warriors and creatures, and they move through Aomori accompanied by musicians, often playing flutes and pounding on loud taiko drums. The goal? To ‘awaken sleepy souls.’

The Aomori Nebuta Matsuri is a Japanese summer festival that takes place in Aomori, Aomori Prefecture, Japan. The festival attracts the most tourists of any of the country’s nebuta festivals, and is counted among the three largest festivals in the Tōhoku region. It was designated an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property in 1980, and as one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan by the Ministry of the Environment in 1996. Play media An Aomori Nebuta Matsuri float and festival music.

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