Tokyo’s Meat Festival: A Carnivore’s Dream Manifest
Tanabata Festival Celebrates Cats With Long Blowy Decorations
Ramune & pineapple chuhais are coming to liven up your fireworks and beach parties this summer
[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Kanazawa Carries On Edo-Era Kaga Tobi Firefighter Festival
Imperial March: Star Wars Floats For Japanese Festival On Display!
Explore Zao Onsen safely at night with these social distance lanterns
Nebuta, Neputa, and Tachineputa are summer festivals held in the Aomori Prefecture. However, many people are confused about which is which.
In this article, I will try guiding you through their differences so that it gets easier for you to recognize each of them.
Hirosaki Neputa/Neputa Matsuri (ねぷた祭り)
Let me start with the Hirosaki Neputa that takes place every summer in the Tsugaru region. The Neputa Festival in Hirosaki lasts about a week, starting from the 1st of August to the 7th.
In Hirosaki, what is interesting is the fact that locals dedicate a lot of time to make the floats and even students from Hirosaki University help with the process.
When I was an exchange student there, I painted my mini float and had the chance to participate in the festival with the locals and other students.
As the fan-shaped neputa (floats) are made by the citizens of Hirosaki, you can sort of feel the spirit of Tsugaru through their effort and dedication.
I enjoy the contrast between the front picture, called kagamie, and the back one, miokurie, as well as the intensity of the Neputa Matsuri.
Another thing I genuinely like about Hirosaki Neputa is the flute and taiko(drums) that can be heard during the parade.
In Hirosaki, they also say “Ya-Ya-Doh” (ヤーヤードー) during the festival and around 80 fan-shaped neputa move around in the historical region of Tsugaru.
The fan shape it’s said to have come from “Ogi” which means fan and was the nickname of Tamenobu of the Tsugaru Clan.
The flutes and music are different from the other two regions, and besides the floats that are shaped in the form of a fan, the “Ya-Ya-Doh” that echoes on the streets is another way to differentiate it from the other two.
Aomori Nebuta/Nebuta Matsuri (ねぶた祭り)
The Aomori Nebuta compared to the Hirosaki one has a human shape and most of the floats are so massive, large, and intense.
Aomori Nebuta is typically based on mythical stories or kabuki and compared to the Hirosaki one, where locals make it, the Nebuta in Aomori are made by professionals.
During the Nebuta Matsuri, everyone yells “ラッセラーラッセラー”/ “Rassera Rassera” through the city, while being accompanied by the traditional sound of flutes and drums; a sound different from the other two festivals in Hirosaki and Goshogawara.
Goshogawara Tachineputa/Tachineputa Matsuri (たちねぷた祭り)
The Tachineputa in Goshogawara is my favorite one and probably the easiest to recognize due to the gigantic floats, with unimaginable sizes (around 23-meter tall!).
I was so impressed when I saw the large floats and the festive atmosphere of the Goshogawara. Tachineputa also has a unique accompaniment, and you will hear "ヤッテマレ"（Yattemare) instead. It also has floats made by professionals, and their height will surely surprise you a lot!
Hopefully, you are now more familiar with the three festivals and next time, you will be able to differentiate them.
I recommend seeing both three if you are planning to come during August because all three are different and impressive in their way.
By - cinnamonellie.