Gigantic illuminated floats take to the streets of Aomori every August.
The sleepy northern town of Aomori comes alive for the Nebuta Matsuri (festival), a week-long celebration in early August, one of Japan's most famous festivals. As darkness falls, huge illuminated floats are pulled through the streets by armies of local people. Crafted from coloured rice-paper, huge images of demons, warriors and horses bear down on the crowds below as the floats are rocked, spun and raced through the town. Hundreds of dancers follow the floats, to a cacophony of bells, flutes and drums. On the last night of the festival the floats are loaded onto boats and floated out to sea against the backdrop of a spectacular firework finale!
When to go: The festival takes place annually from 2nd to 7th August. The main days are 2nd to the 6th when the night time illuminations provide the spectacular backdrop to the festivities. On the 7th there are day time celebrations all finished off with an incredible firework display over the harbour after dark.