Archive for hachinohe

Kabushima, the island of seagulls and the shrine in Hachinohe-City

Posted in Hachinohe-city with tags , , , , on October 9, 2010 by Yuko

Have you heard about the Kabushima Island in Aomori-Prefecture? It is the only place you can closely view the seagull’s nests and their caring of baby birds in Japan.

I visited there in June, the most lively season of the Kabushima Island. Please enjoy the following images, one of the popular tourist spots in Hachinohe-City.

First, seagulls welcome you like this at the parking area……

Can you see the white dots on the grass? The dots are all seagulls, and the total number is said to be THIRTY-THOUSAND!!

Kabushima is a small, uninhabited gourd-shaped island 0.8 kirometers in circumference. Every year they migrate to this island in early March and start breeding.

When eggs hatch in June, the rapeseed flowers are in full bloom on the island. Parents and baby seagulls squawk, they fly around all the time, and the sound of ocean waves and winds make the area so lively (or noisy).

I just love the way seagulls standing still, all facing to the same direction…….

By the way, can you guess what these umbrellas are for ?

The answer is to protect yourself from the dropping of seagulls!!!

There is the Kabushima Shrine on the top of the island, and visitors and tourists pass through the red Trii gate and go up the stairs with umbrellas.

On the way climbing up the stairs, many nests and seagull families can be viewed.

Seagulls protect the shrine with gardian lions. Seagulls are regarded as the messengers of  the sea goddess among fishermen, since seagulls tell where the schools of fish are in the water.

Kabushima Shrine

Seagull bronze statues and live models

The new candy featuring seagulls started to be sold from this year.  The name is “Umineko Bakudan”, literally “seagull bombs” in Japanese.

Candies in the shape of seagulls droppings can be taken out from the back of the box seagull….can be good for the souvenir.

Now seagulls are all gone migrating south, so please come to Aomori next summer to enjoy this amazing view in Hachinohe.

Oh please let me tell you about the omen believed in Japan.  “Droppings” and “fortune” have the same pronunciation in Japanese.

So if seagull droppings land on you, it is a major sign of wealth coming from heaven.  If you want that sign, please come to Kabushima island. I promise you can receive a whole bunch of “fortune” signs from seagulls :)  

Kabushima Island & Kabushima Shrine

Access:  15 minutes walk from JR Same Station, Hachinohe-Line


Entrancing Emburi

Posted in 1 with tags , , on January 28, 2010 by Zack
The long winter nights are slowly and gradually growing shorter. Spring is still far away but approaching in Aomori. February is just a few days away, and although it is the coldest month in terms of temperature, things start to heat up a little bit in Aomori, with many winter events and festivals being held all over the prefecture. One such event is Emburi, a festival like tradition of Hachinohe City and the surrounding area. It’s hard to describe Emburi, but if I had to choose a word, I would probably call it entrancing. Rather than talk about it though, I think it would be better if you watched it instead!
How about it? Entrancing? Emburi is said to have originated from a type of Dengaku, a type of rural agricultural ceremony including music and dance. Performances of this art form are held for 4 days from February 17th to February 20th every year in Hachinohe City. Men adorn tall hats reminiscent of horses, an important animal to the agriculture, lifestyle, and culture of the area, the Nambu Region.
Emburi Horse Hats

Details of horses and agriculture practices can still be seen on Emburi hats.

Emburi was designated as an important intangible cultural property by the Japanese national government in 1979, but its history goes back much further, approximately 800 years. The name Emburi is mostly a dialectal variant name for a small rake like agricultural tool called “eburi” in Japanese which is used to pound the ground stirring the spirits of the spring and ensure a bountiful harvest in the fall of the coming year.
Other dances and performances also make up the entire tradition of Emburi. Young children also participate by dressing up and dancing in cute and comical performances. The boy below is dressed up as the god Ebisu, the god of fisherman and good luck in a dance where he reels in a large auspicious red snapper.

A little boy plays the role of the lucky god Ebisu.


Two girls dance as the god of wealth, Daikoku.

It is really amazing that the people of Hachinohe have kept this wonderful tradition alive for so long. They definitely have something to be proud about!