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Japan’s festivals all at once

by Eriko Arita

While winter is an off-season for traditional Japanese festivals, Tokyo Dome will be alive with matsuri madness from Jan. 8-11.

At Furusato Matsuri Tokyo 2010, people from all over Japan will showcase their region’s matsuri (festivals). One of the featured festivals is the Akita Kanto Matsuri from the Tohoku region, which is known as one of the north’s three big festivals. It features poles with a number of lanterns that look like ears of rice. The biggest pole is 12 meters tall and weighs 50 kg.

Also showcased will be Aomori Prefecture’s Hachinohe Sansha Taisai, with samurai- and kabuki-themed floats, and Koichi Prefecture’s Yosakoi Matsuri, which is known for the powerful dance and music style known as yosakoibushi.

A variety of regional foods, such as various donburi (rice bowls with meat or seafood), will be sold at the event. One of the bowls is ikura don (rice bowl with salmon roe) from Hokkaido. Attendees can even participate in a donburi contest by voting for their favorite dish. The rice bowls served at the event will be half the normal size and priced at around ¥400.

There will also be a market of local foods from Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku and other regions of Japan.

Furusato Matsuri Tokyo 2010 goes from 10 a.m. till 8 p.m. on Jan. 8-11 (till 6 p.m. on Jan. 11) at Tokyo Dome. Admission costs ¥1,500 for adults and ¥1,200 for elementary school students. For more information, visit www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/furusato