Six years after the Great East Japan earthquake struck Tohoku, the region is slowly but surely coming back strong.
Although recovery efforts have been steadily progressing over the past years, the process of rebuilding the devastated area is a long, tough journey. To cheer on the residents of Tohoku, six cities of the six prefectures affected by the earthquake have come together to host an annual festival. Through a series of high-energy performances, dances and festivities, the organisers hope to provide encouragement to the people affected by the disaster.
The Rokkonsai (六魂祭), or Six Soul Festival, was first held in 2011 and every year subsequently. It has made its rounds from Sendai City (Miyagi), Morioka City (Iwate), Fukushima City (Fukushima), Yamagata City (Yamagata), Akita City (Akita) to Aomori City (Aomori).
While the Rokkonsai ended in 2016, the six cities are continuing to make strides in the revitalising the area.
This year, they have relaunched the festival under a brand new name:
Tohoku Kizuna Festival 2017 (東北絆まつり).
Kizuna (絆), or bonds, connect and unite us with each other. Despite their great loss in the tragedy, the people of Tohoku have banded together in strength, love and pride for their region. The organisers hope that kizuna will eventually be recognised as a term for people around the world to connect and communicate with each other.
The grand event will be a showcase of the six most well-known festivals from each prefecture, namely:
- Fukushima Waraji Festival (福島わらじ祭り)
- Sendai Tanabata Festival (仙台七夕祭り)
- Yamagata Hanagasa Festival (山形花笠まつり)
- Morioka Sansa Dance (盛岡さんさ踊り)
- Akita Kanto Festival (秋田竿灯祭り)
- Aomori Nebuta Festival (青森ねぶた祭り)
Aside from these, smaller-scale events and stage performances that illustrate each prefecture’s distinctive cultures are also held throughout the two-day festivities.
Besides taking in the sights and sounds at this colourful event, visitors to Tohoku can also look forward to plenty of delectable local dishes and unforgettable experiences.
So wait no further! Make a trip to Tohoku this summer to experience her unique culture and the warm-hearted hospitality of her people.
Tohoku Kizuna Festival
Date: 10 & 11 Jun’17 (Sat & Sun)
Time: 10am – 8pm (Sat), 10am – 5pm / Parade 1.30pm – 4pm (Sun)
*Parade will only be held on 11 Jun’17 (Sun)
Venue: Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture
(Events): Nishi Park, Kotodai Park
(Parade Route): Jozenji Street to Higashi-nibancho Street (intersection of Aoba Street)