Hanawa Neputa, Akita

Hanawa Neputa is a Tanabata event (a seasonal festival called the Star Festival in Japan) that takes place on the 7th and 8th August every year from the end of the Edo era in the Hanawa region. The main point of this event are Osho-Toro (lanterns shaped like shogi piece) about 5 meters in height which shaped a piece of shogi and a big drum with a diameter of 2 meters. They strike the big drum and go around the town according to the music. On the final day, the fire burns all at once into lanterns lining up in the Inamura Bridge across the Yoneshiro River. This “Nemuri Nagashi” burning the lanterns is the biggest viewpoint of Hanawa Neputa.


The unique rhythm of the big drum echoes in summer nights of Kazuno town Hanawa area. During the 2 days of August 7th and 8th, the big lantern and the big drum will walk through the town while letting the distinctive music accompanied by the whistle. This district’s unique Tanabata Matsuri Festival is this “Hanawa Neputa”.


The origin of Hanawa Neputa is not certain. This is said to have been done since the end of the Edo era, the theory originated from “Neburi Nagashi” (an event that banishes one’s sleepiness) or “Mushiokuri” (making a torch procession to drive away crop – eating insects) , there seem to be various opinions.


The picture lanterns with a height of 4 meters in the shape of a piece of shogi are called “Ote”, and while striking the big drum of 2 meters in diameter which is carried on the cart, it walks around the town. On the front of Ote, the letters of “Osho” (kingship), the left side is “Amanogawa” (Milky Way), the right side is marked as “Tanabata Matsuri” (Star Festival), and on the back is “Musha-e” (Ukiyo-e prints of warriors) on the back. It is a unique picturesque lantern in this region that can not be seen elsewhere.


The most interesting point is “Nemuri Nagashi” which Osho Lantern walking around the town is aligned with the Inamura Bridge and flushed all at once. At the same time big drum is beaten and fireworks are launched. You can enjoy “fantasy of the warrior picture swaying in the darkness” and “sound of the big drum trembling in the town”, and a large-scale fireworks festival that burns the night sky.



Name:Hanawa Neputa
Address:Kazuno, Akita 018-5200 Japan
Access:JR Hanawa-sen Line “Kazunohanawa-eki Station” (10 minutes walk)
Tel:(+81) 186-30-0500 (Hanawa Bayashi Festival Committee)
Official site:http://hanawabayashi.jp/

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