And you could admire one of those floats at Japan Expo last July: a Tachi Nebuta from the city of Goshogawara representing the legendary character of Guan Yu, the god of commerce.
The Nebuta Matsuri originates in Tohoku, at the far North of Honshu island. For over 300 years, it is celebrated every summer, its gigantic floats illuminating the city every night from August 2nd to 7. Made of wood and covered in painted washi paper, the floats represent mythical characters, gods and spirits, local figures, kabuki actors, or even TV characters. Over 3 million people a year come admire the 24 floats which are as large as 9 meters or as high as 5 meters for some. Groups of musicians playing taiko, the flute or cymbals, alongside hundreds of dancers, are part of the parade. Fireworks end the festival on the last day.