After hiatus, Tohoku festival wows crowds in Akita

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Performers of the Akita Kanto Festival hold up kanto lanterns during the Tohoku Kizuna Festival parade at Soyu Stadium in Akita on May 28.

AKITA — The Tohoku Kizuna Festival, a two-day summer festival comprising smaller jamborees from six Tohoku prefectures, kicked off at Yabase Sports Park in Akita on May 28.

A large crowd gathered for the opening day parade at Soyu Stadium. The Air Self-Defense Force’s Blue Impulse aerobatic squadron flew over the venue, drawing heart shapes and other symbols in the sky. Revelers waved and cheered during performances representing prefectural festivals of Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Yamagata. Food booths selling kiritampo hollow sticks (of rice) hot pot and Yokote yakisoba fried noodles, among other goods, did brisk business.

“This is the first festival I’ve been to in a long time,” enthused 24-year-old Taisei Yokoyama, an office worker from Owani, Aomori Prefecture. “I’m really enjoying myself.”

The parade — being held for the first time in three years due to the novel coronavirus pandemic — showcased dancers and floats representing such Tohoku festivals as the Akita Kanto Festival, the Morioka Sansa Odori Festival and the Aomori Nebuta Festivals.