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Fireworks exploding over a river.
Local Festivals
  1. Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo, Hokkaidō)
  2. Aomori Nebuta (Aomori City, Aomori)
  3. Sumida River Firework Festival (Tokyo)
  4. Takayama Festival (Takayama City, Gifu)
  5. Naked (Hadaka) Festival (Inazawa City, Aichi)
  6. Wakakusayama Mountain Burning (Nara City, Nara)
  7. Gion Festival (Kyoto City, Kyoto)
  8. Awa Dance Festival (Tokushima City, Tokushima)
  9. Yosakoi Festival (Kōchi City, Kōchi)
  10. Nagasaki Kunchi (Nagasaki City, Nagasaki)
  11. Eisā Festival (Okinawa City, Okinawa)
  12. Niihama Taiko Festival
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Niihama Taiko Festival
Each year, from October 16th to 18th, the city of Niihama in Ehime Prefecture holds the Niihama Taiko Matsuri (drum festival) to give thanks for an abundant autumn harvest. Forty-seven floats, called taiko-dai, are paraded through the five districts of Niihama in a festival dating back 300 years. During the three days of the festival, the streets of Niihama fill with over 350,000 visitors to watch this annual event. Each 17 foot high, 36 foot long taiko-dai is a 2.5-ton float. About 150 men bear each heavy taiko-dai on their shoulders through the streets of Niihama in a competition for the best carrying style. In the middle of each float is a large taiko drum that gives the float its name. The drum is beat rhythmically throughout the night to urge on the float bearers who are dressed in the uniforms of Edo era firemen. (The Edo era lasted from 1600 to 1868.) Each taiko-dai float is elaborately embroidered with expensive gold and silver thread with designs such as dragons, wild birds, famous buildings, or characters from legend. The design of each taiko-dai is chosen by the Niihama neighborhood that sponsored the float and construction can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many neighborhoods chose designs that adorn the float with dozens of paper lanterns. You can see a video clip of the Niihama festival at night with its thousands of glowing lanterns on the bouncing and spinning taiko-dai by clicking on the AV link.
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