Tachi Neputa Festival in Goshogawara City

For as long as I have been living in Aomori, people have been urging me to go and see the Tachi Neputa Festival in Goshogawara city. Tachi Neputa is famous for its illuminated three dimensional floats which are made out of paper and painted elaborately, much like the Nebuta Festival in Aomori, but the best thing is the size! The largest floats in the parade are over 20 meters (over 65 feet) tall! In fact, the name Tachi Neputa, (literally standing Neputa) refers to tall-standing composition of the floats.
Tachi Neputa is held every year for 5 days from August 4th to August 8th. It doesn’t matter if it is a weekday or not, the party still goes on! This year I went on the very last day, a popular day because the main floats stand facing one another and a popular Japanese singer from Goshogawara, Ikuzo Yoshi makes an appearance every year at his hometown’s festival on this last day. This year the last day also happened to be on a Saturday, making the festival extra packed with tons of onlookers.
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This is a bridge in the middle of the city which overs a slightly elevated view, the only catch is you have to wait until the road is closed to traffic and fend for a spot. If crowds aren’t your thing, I definitely recommend getting to Goshogawara earlier in the afternoon if you want to get a great spot. But don’t worry, even if you don’t manage to get a great spot, the major attraction of this festival is so huge that there isn’t really a bad spot in the whole city.
Once the sun has set and 7pm rolls around, fireworks go off signalling the start of the festival which continues for two hours until 9 pm. First the drums and flutes of the parade music begin and numerous floats, first small but gradually getting bigger, come out and make a circuit around downtown Goshogawara city.
If you go to the Hirosaki Neputa festival or the Aomori Nebuta festival you might notice how each festival has its own music and own cheer shouted out by participants. The cheer in the Tachi Neputa is “Yattemare” which means something close to “Go and get ’em!” which harkens back to the combative history of the festival, when fights would break out among competing floats and their members. I think it’s safe to say that Tachi Neputa also has one of the most energetic melodies out of all the festivals in the prefecture.
But back to the floats-this is just a sampling of what you can see:
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Scenes from Japanese mythology recreated in three amazing dimensions.
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While not terribly Japanese, it is still very cute nonetheless.
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And some floats are beautifully painted, making them a pleasure to photograph.
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Here you can get an idea of how much work goes into constructing a single float, from creating the framework, applying Japanese paper, and painting the paper. But don’t get too impressed just yet… I still haven’t shown you the big momma float!
And here it is…
<image 6>
Yes, it’s really that tall… For reference you can see it towers over the surrounding buildings of several stories in height, and even makes the utility poles seem like blades of grass as these floats galantly parade their way around the city.
<image7>
It’s really amazing to see how massively tall these floats are and how they can be supported by such a small base and moved around by people so gracefully. If you are photographer this is a definite must see festival in Japan. I filled up an 12 gigabyte memory card in just 2 hours!
I definitely recommend anyone visiting Japan during early August to come up and see Goshogawara’s Tachi Neputa Festival, and don’t forget to bring your camera!

For as long as I have been living in Aomori, people have been urging me to go and see the Tachi Neputa Festival in Goshogawara city. Tachi Neputa is famous for its illuminated three dimensional floats which are made out of paper and painted elaborately, much like the Nebuta Festival in Aomori, but the best thing is the size! The largest floats in the parade are over 20 meters (over 65 feet) tall! In fact, the name Tachi Neputa, (literally standing Neputa) refers to tall-standing composition of the floats.

Tachi Neputa is held every year for 5 days from August 4th to August 8th. It doesn’t matter if it is a weekday or not, the party still goes on! This year I went on the very last day, a popular day because the main floats stand facing one another and a popular Japanese singer from Goshogawara, Ikuzo Yoshi makes an appearance every year at his hometown’s festival on this last day. This year the last day also happened to be on a Saturday, making the festival extra packed with tons of onlookers.

Better to get here early so you can find a seat!

Better to get here early so you can find a seat!

This is a bridge in the middle of the city which overs a slightly elevated view, the only catch is you have to wait until the road is closed to traffic and fend for a spot. If crowds aren’t your thing, I definitely recommend getting to Goshogawara earlier in the afternoon if you want to get a great spot. But don’t worry, even if you don’t manage to get a great spot, the major attraction of this festival is so huge that there isn’t really a bad spot in the whole city.

Once the sun has set and 7pm rolls around, fireworks go off signalling the start of the festival which continues for two hours until 9 pm. First the drums and flutes of the parade music begin and numerous floats, first small but gradually getting bigger, come out and make a circuit around downtown Goshogawara city.

If you go to the Hirosaki Neputa festival or the Aomori Nebuta festival you might notice how each festival has its own music and own cheer shouted out by participants. The cheer in the Tachi Neputa is “Yattemare” which means something close to “Go and get ’em!” which harkens back to the combative history of the festival, when fights would break out among competing floats and their members. I think it’s safe to say that Tachi Neputa also has one of the most energetic melodies out of all the festivals in the prefecture.

But back to the floats-this is just a sampling of what you can see:

Scenes from Japanese mythology recreated in three amazing dimensions.

Scenes from Japanese mythology recreated in three amazing dimensions.

Well he isn't Japanese, but he is still very cute nonetheless.

Well he isn't Japanese, but he is still very cute nonetheless.

Some floats are beautifully painted, making them a pleasure to photograph.

Some floats are beautifully painted, making them a pleasure to photograph.

Here you can get an idea of how much work goes into constructing a single float, from creating the framework, applying Japanese paper, and painting the paper.

Here you can get an idea of how much work goes into constructing a single float, from creating the framework, applying Japanese paper, and painting the paper.

But don’t get too impressed just yet… I still haven’t shown you the big momma floats!

And here they are…

tachineputa6

Giants descend on Goshogawara

Yes, it’s really that tall… For reference you can see it towers over the surrounding buildings of several stories in height, and they even make the utility poles seem like blades of grass as these floats galantly parade their way around the city.

Behold the glory!

Behold the glory!

It’s really amazing to see how massively tall these floats are and how they can be supported by such a small base and moved around by people so gracefully. If you are photographer this is a definite must see festival in Japan. I filled up an 12 gigabyte memory card in just 2 hours!

I definitely recommend anyone visiting Japan during early August to come up and see Goshogawara’s Tachi Neputa Festival, and don’t forget to bring your camera, and maybe an extra memory card!

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3 Responses to “Tachi Neputa Festival in Goshogawara City”

  1. Yatte mare ~ Yatte mare~~~

  2. What a sight! I will definitely come to Aomori in early August one day . . .

  3. man, i totally need to level up my night photography skills! I found the size of the floats and the constantly changing light conditions tricky, especially without a tripod. love these shots, particularly the fourth one.

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