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Aomori City – Nebuta Festival & Shinmachi Shopping Street
Aomori City is the northernmost prefectural city of Japan’s mainland Honshu. It is best known for the annual Nebuta Matsuri (Nebuta Festival) that is held in the summer from August 2nd – 7th. Nebuta Festival is one of the ‘Three Great Festivals of the Tohoku Region’. The parade shows a fantastic display of gigantic lantern floats among dancers, taiko drummers and participants. The festival travels along the Shinmachi Shopping Street, which runs directly from Aomori Station. Shinmachi Shopping Street offers a great variety of shops and services that showcase Aomori’s best features.
Get into the spirit of the famous Nebuta Festival at ‘Koshuya’
The Nebuta Festival is a Japanese summer festival in which pre-registration is not required for participation in the main parade. The only requirement is that you must wear the traditional Haneto dancing wear. Koshuya provides Haneto dance wear rental for only ¥2,980(+tax). The staff will help to dress you in the attire and keep your luggage while you participate! The shop also sells various Nebuta Festival paraphernalia including some fun facemasks, t-shirts and stickers. Definitely an event to put on your bucket list!
Nebuta Fans from ‘Mr Ono’s Hanko & Nebuta Fan Shop’
This small family-run shop offers Japanese fans with hand-drawn Nebuta Kabuki-face designs. Mr Ono also provides a personalization option to have your name written onto the fan by fude (Japanese calligraphy brush). All of the Nebuta artworks are original designs hand-drawn by Mr Ono himself. Purchase one for yourself or as a souvenir to take home! There are also T-shirts and other Nebuta Festival themed goods for purchase.
Shinmachi Shopping Street ‘Machi Machi Plaza’
Machi Machi Plaza is a free café/information hut style rest stop located in the middle of Shinmachi Shopping Street. They offer free coffee, tea, Wi-Fi and seating which makes it a perfect place to take a rest between your exploring. The friendly locals who run the shop are very welcoming!
Aomori Apple Sweets from ‘Okinaya’
Besides the Nebuta Festival, Aomori is famous throughout Japan as the country’s largest producer of apples. Okinaya offers Aomori apple snacks such as cakes, jams, Japanese style sweet as well as apple juice. The most popular item sold is Usukurenai – a thin slice of apple that has been cooked in syrup and dried. They keep for about 3 months so they make great souvenirs to take home to friends and family. The shop also has a sitting area so you can take a break and enjoy tasting the many Japanese sweets on offer.
Traditional Handcrafted Pieces from ‘Osaka Urushigei’
This shop has been running since the Showa era and provides a variety of handcrafted pieces using traditional Japanese methods such as Kogin Embroidery and Nanbu Ripped Weaving. These are textile methods using recycling philosophies (such as re-using old kimonos) and weaving techniques that date back to the Edo period. There are items such as coasters, hair bands, bags and coin purses available for purchase! The shop also sells Nebuta Festival inspired items as well as pots and chopsticks.
Delicious Home-cooking Style Tonkatsu from ‘Aki’ (亜希)
If you are a fan of Japanese style tonkatsu (pork cutlets), you definitely want to stop by this restaurant. They have specialized in tonkatsu for over 40 years and make their own original style sauce to accompany the cutlets. The serving is extremely generous and comes with the normal set items of rice, miso soup, pickles, cabbage and the cutlets. You can be seated in either Japanese style tamami rooms or a western table and chair style arrangement. A truly Japanese home-style meal!
Handmade Fresh Soba from ‘Kakudai’
If you’re looking for a light and refreshing meal, try the hand-made soba noodles from Kakudai. The overall taste of the noodles may be a little different to soba you have tried elsewhere, as the owner has made slight adjustments to fit the palette of the Aomori locals. A definite must-eat!
Japanese Knives and other Kitchenware from ‘Riken Table Ware Store’
This is a great place to stop by if you are interested in buying a Japanese folded steel knife. There are English explanations regarding the knives, which will make shopping much easier! The shop also sells a large variety of general Japanese Tableware items such as chopsticks, bowls, cups, baskets, etc.
Click here for the official Shinmachi Shopping Street Website. Although it is a Japanese website, there are maps and other useful pieces of information.http://shinmachi.aomori.jp/
Click here for more information regarding the Nebuta Festival.https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/festival/aomorinebuta.html
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