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Festivals and Other Events

Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival

Kitakami Tenshochi is on the shore of the leisurely flowing Kitakami River. The area is well known as one of the best places for viewing cherry blossoms in Tohoku, and is counted among “100 famous cherry blossom spots” and one of the “three famous cherry blossom spots in Michinoku (Tohoku).” A path lined with cherry trees begins at Sangobashi Bridge and continues for 2km. In Tenshochi there are said to be 10,000 cherry trees of more than 150 types.

Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival is held every year from April 15 to May 5. There is always a huge turnout of visitors viewing the cherry blossoms. During this period, brightly colored carp banners fly in the sky above the Kitakami River, recreational boats are available in the river, and horse-drawn carriages carry visitors through the cherry blossoms now in full bloom. And at night the flowers are beautifully illuminated and reflected in the surface of the river.

Kitakami Michinoku Performing Arts Festival

Kitakami is said to be a treasury of folk arts. Some of the top performing groups continuing oral traditions of folk performance are here. A large festival of traditional performing arts is held for three days every year starting on the first Friday in August. At this event, around 100 groups gather to put on traditional performance of everything from the famous “Onikenbai” and “Shishi Odori” to “Taue Odori,” “Kagura,” and “Nenbutsu Odori” in different locations throughout the city. You can see elegant and soul stirring traditional dance performances at this festival. It is a rare display of traditional arts not seen elsewhere, unique in both scale and content.

The highlight of the festival is on the second day, when a large group of 200 dancers perform the “Onekenbai” (demon dance) in unison in front of a bonfire in an open area near Kitakami station. This is an intensely stirring performance.

A fireworks performance with a 360-year history called “Torokko Nagashi” is the finale of this three-day festival. “Toro” lanterns are set to drift on the river while the fireworks explode overhead in a moving performance.

Kitakami, Iwate Marathon

This is the only marathon in Iwate officially recognized by the Japan Association of Athletics Federation. It is held every year on the second Sunday in October, with the starting and finish line at the Kitakami Stadium. Runners come from all over Japan to run in the fall in Kitakami.

This event is affiliated with the marathon on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, and those that finish in the top of this event from Iwate can participate in the marathon in Ishigaki.

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