Although it is all unknown how who decided, there are the three greatest festivals in Japan. Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, Tenjin-matsuri in Osaka and Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo are it.
However, we Japanese have believed there are a lot of deities here and there. Naturally, what festival to be selected as the three greatest is all down to the district you live in.
If you were living in Aomori prefecture, you must say "Give me a break! Our Nebuta Matsuri is really more well-known than any other festivals."
No doubt that the most popular festival in the East Japan is the Nebuta Matsuri. We have, however, some incomprehensible questions about that. First, most Japanese will be difficult to get what "Nebuta" means. In Aomori, more mysteriously, there are two common names "Nebuta" and "Neputa."
"Nebuta" points lanterns. Praying for their sound health, they use the lanterns to wash away their dirtiness and drowsiness. One theory says "Nebuta" and "Neputa" came from "Nemuri" which means sleepiness. In old times, people believed drowsiness in summer caused disease and disasters.
In the Nebuta festivals, there are many kinds of lanterns called "Nebuta" or "Neputa." It is not enough, however, to do nothing but look at when a festival goes on. Try to join because anybody can if wearing the dancing uniform. Then, you will justly understand why the Nebuta Matsuri has been so popular.
Photos by Aomori Tourism Convention Bureau