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August 7, 2013 - Aomori Nebuta Matsuri
The Aomori Nubata Matsuri is one of three main Tohoku festivals. It occurs between August 2nd - 7th with a large firework display occurring on the last night. Aomori is around 3 1/2 hours via Shinkansen from Tokyo - but I would highly doubt the you will be able to pick up last minute train tickets or accommodation. These festivals fill up the town 3 or 6 months in advance (depending on how early hotels accept bookings).
The festival normally includes a nightly parade - but the parade occurs in the afternoon on the last day with fireworks occurring at night. The parade consists of many dancers, taiko drummers and dozens of floats which are amazing but look quite similar.
Note that the floats are pushed by hand - with the only electricity being the generators which light up the floats each night.
Just like the Akita Kanto Festival, different local businesses support the event. As such, there are many different advertisements which might be small or very overt like the one above.
The local dance looks like a high powered skipping. I was located near the end of the 3 KM parade ground - and I could tell you that the dancers were VERY tired.
It is amazing how close we can get to the floats. You can feel even feel the individual hits of the Taiko drums as they go past.
On the 7th of August, there is a large firework display and 6 of the floats are put on barges and moved around the bay. The whole spectacle occurs around 7:15 - 9PM. The main fireworks occur in the last 15 minutes - which is worth waiting for as some of the earlier fireworks were a bit underwhelming.
Many of the floats are open and can be viewed on the last night. It is great for close up photos. Many groups have also got local hats which you can use to pose in front of the floats. Being my normal conservative self - I made sure I was in no photo.