Dancing their way to spring in Aomori, Japan

A group of dancers dressed in farmers’ attires hold a festival praying for good harvest in spring.

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Hachinohe Enburi Matsuri is an annual four-day dance festival held in a city called Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture. This year the festival will begin on February 17 and ends on the 20th.

This is a festival praying for a rich harvest, and in the old days the dancers used to carry farm tools called eburi when performing their dance. Enburi, the name of this festival, is believed to have derived from this eburi.


This festival is believed to have started more than 800 years ago by farmers praying for good harvest in the spring. Today, this festival has turned into one of the major festivals in town with more than 30 groups of dancers (with about 10 to 30 members in a group) dancing to welcome the arrival of spring.

Known as tayu, these dancers include flute-players, drummers, singers. The kane, dancers sounding the bells, parade around the city. They wear wearing costumes that are similar to those worn by farmers in the olden days.

They all wear large hats called eboshi. The eboshi of the tayu dancers is designed in the shape of a horse's neck, for a horse was considered indispensable in farm work.


The dances performed by tayu dancers resemble movements of seeding and rice planting by farmers. There are two different types of movements involved. The first is known as naga-enburi, which is performed slowly, and another known as dosai-enburi, a movement performed according to a lively tempo.

During the festival, you can enjoy seeing all kinds of enburi in different situations, such as the gozen enburi which was formerly performed in the palace of the feudal lord and the kagaribi enburi which is performed while making a bonfire at night. If you wish to take a good look, it is best to visit Hachinohe Public Hall.


Hachinohe Enburi Matsuri was declared as one of the significant intangible folk culture assets of Japan in 1979. For more information on the festival please visit aptinet.jp.

Festival Schedule

felicito rustique, jr./Flickr

February 17

7am: Enburi Dance for the Shrine God

8am: Photo sessions with tayu dancers

10am: Tayu dancers parading the downtown of Hachinohe

11am: Tayu dancers performing on the streets in downtown Hachinohe

12noon: Enburi Dance demonstration at the City Hall

February 17 and 18

1pm: Enburi Dance performances at City Auditorium (¥1000)

Daily from 17 to 20 February

11am – 12 noon: Photo sessions at Heian Castle Site

6pm – 8pm: Bonfire Enburi

Tohoku Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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