People in the Tohoku region have long believed that the gods of the rice fields take a well-earned break and fall asleep during winter. So what's the best way to wake them for spring and ensure a fruitful harvest? With singing and dancing, of course.
The city of Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, will hold an enburi dance festival from Feb. 17 to 20 to rouse the dormant deities.
The performances will first take place at Chojasan Shinra Shrine at 7 a.m. with a parade of around 30 groups — each made up of 20 to 30 dancers in traditional outfits — as well as singers, flute players and percussionists.
The participating teams will all perform again at 10:40 a.m. in the city's downtown area including the neighborhood of Jusannichimachi.
The square near Hachinohe City Office will also be a hot spot for revelers with more performances and a bonfire every night. Meanwhile, in the garden at Kojokaku, a mansion built in the Meiji Period (1868-1912), you can watch dancing while enjoying culinary delights such as amazake (sweet sake) and senbeijiru (rice crackers in soy sauce soup). (Yuki Yamauchi)