How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri


2017.09.14

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

The pole lantern festival in Akita is a spectacular event and one of the biggest summer festivals in northern Japan. Here’s how you can get the most out of it.

  • If you’re planning to visit Akita City for the pole lantern festival, or Akita Kanto Matsuri as it is known in Japanese, you’ll be happy to hear that this festival has more to offer than its nighttime parade in which several meter-high bamboo poles are marched through the streets of Akita. During the day, there are a myriad of events and things to experience – You can even try your hand at balancing one of the towering lantern poles yourself.

    How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

    How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

    The majority of the daytime activities take place at the Agora Plaza, located just a few minutes on foot from the JR Akita Station, next to the Seibu department store. Here, teams start to gather around 11 am in order to practice and show off their pole-balancing skills in a more relaxed and informal manner before the real event begins.

    How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

    How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

    Another spot to head to in the day is the plaza near the Akita Museum of Art across the street from the bridge that leads to Senshu Park. Here, you can have a go at balancing a pole yourself and see the skill and practice that it requires. If you’re interested, be sure to register at the small information counter beforehand but beware that not everyone is able to have a go when a large number of people have signed up. In these cases, a lottery is held in order to keep numbers down.

    How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

    How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

    There are also various smaller competitions taking place in this square during the daytime. Competitions include solo and group performances by various teams who put on spectacular shows in front of a seated row of stern looking judges.

    How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

    How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

    Another nearby point of interest is the Neburinagashi-kan, or the Akita City Folklore and Performing Arts Heritage Center. Open all year round, the arts center has a large section dedicated to the Kanto Festival, including a permanent display of lantern poles as well as movies and exhibitions which tell the story of the festival. If you didn’t get the chance to try out balancing Kanto pole in Agora Plaza you can have a go in the Neburinagashi-kan at any time of year.


    The highlight of the festival is the Kanto Performance on Chuo-dori which starts at 7.25 pm where the poles are paraded through the streets in a lively performance that goes on for approximately 90 minutes. Once the official session is over, however, you’ll be allowed into the performance area where you can get a chance to touch and feel the poles as well as getting photos together with the performers who were very friendly and chatty when we visited.

    How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

    How to Enjoy the Akita Kanto Matsuri

    The food stalls in the area near the festival space serve food and drinks until late and the entire city tend to be in a festive mood during the days of the festival. So, while you are here, we highly recommend that you go for a few drinks and mingle with the other cheerful festival-goers.

    Akitakantoumaturi
    place
    Akita Pref. Akitashi Omachi 3-chome
    phone
    0188632222

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