Festivals and Other Events

Festivals and Other Events

Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival


Kitakami Tenshochi runs along the shore of the softly flowing Kitakami River.  The area is well known as one of the best places for viewing cherry blossoms in Tohoku.  Tenshochi Park is officially listed in the “Top 100 Japanese cherry blossom sites”, and “Top 3 cherry blossom sites in the Tohoku region”  A path lined with cherry blossom trees begins at Sango-Bashi Bridge and continues for 2km.  In Tenshochi, there is said to be 10,000 cherry blossom trees of more than 150 types.


The 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 trees.  During this time, brightly colored carp banners fly in the sky above the Kitakami River, boats carry tourists along the river, and horse-drawn carriages carry visitors through the cherry blossom trees in full bloom.  At night, the flowers are beautifully illuminated and reflect on the surface of the river.

Kitakami Michinoku Geino Matsuri,Traditional Entertainment Festival


Kitakami is said to be a treasury of folk arts.  We have some of the top performing groups that continue oral traditions of folk performances.  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 a traditional performance of everything from the famous “Onikembaii” (sword dance with demon mask) and “Shishi Odori” (deer dance) to “Taue Odori,” (rice-planting dance), “Kagura,” (Shinto music and dance), and “Nenbutsu Odori”(Buddhist enlightenment dance) in different locations throughout the city.  You can watch these elegant traditional dances of 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 “Onikembai” in unison in front of a bonfire in an open area near the Kitakami Station.  This is an intensely thrilling performance.

A fireworks performance with a 360-year history called “Torokko Nagashi” is the finale of this three-day festival.  “Torokko” lanterns are set to drift on the river while the fireworks explode over 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 in the Fall from all over Japan to run 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.