This was a most memorable trip…
We had the best seats in the house to view Japan’s premier fireworks festival. Nagaoka, Honolulu’s sister city, assisted us in getting the best seats to view “The Nagaoka Fireworks Festival”. There are no words to describe this fabulous festival with 20,000 fireworks munitions. Over 520,000 people came to see this festival from all over Japan including us from Hawaii! We were also in the local newspaper the next day, one of our tour members was interviewed at the site.
This Summer’s tour focused on the Tohoku area’s (Northern Japan) Summer festivals. We caught many trains and enjoyed “ekiben” (lunch boxes) during transfer; seeing the local area from our windows on the train was different from a bus ride trip. There are many rice fields since Niigata is known for its great rice brand called “Koshihikari” and they are also well known for Sake, Soy Sauce and Miso bean paste too
Our visit to Nagaoka was followed by the Aomori Nebuta Festival. We had a nice viewing spot with chairs; it was so exciting to be seated so close to the big floats and to feel the Taiko drumbeat in our bodies! Food stands along the sidewalk were extra fun. The one night stay at an Onsen hotel was very relaxing. In the outdoor onsen with stars above us, this was just what we needed after the exciting festivals.
Sendai Tanabata Festival was also filled with lots of people. The Tanabata decorations were so big and so different from what we normally see in other parts of Japan
The tour ended with another fireworks festival in Tokyo – The Tokyo Bay Fireworks Festival. This time we caught a “yakata bune” boat on Sumida river. First we enjoyed a great dinner on the boat and all-you-can-drink beer, soft drinks and other ‘adult’ beverages. Dinner was more than we could eat and the freshly fried tempura was so good!! 15.000 fireworks decorated the sky together with Rainbow bridge on the side. Despite the hot weather during the day, we had a nice breeze..
I won’t lie, it was very HOT and Humid during this festival season in Japan, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip that you might want to take. It is very difficult to get hotels in the Tohoku area during the festival season but we have sources that no one else has. Our next year trip is already in the making and we already have wait-lists for people who wants to go. Please contact us to put your name down on our wait-list soon!
Posted by Linda Okabe
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