Experience the Nebuta Festival at the Wa Rasse Nebuta Museum, Aomori

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  • Rasse, rasse, rasse ra! That’s what you hear when the street performers of Aomori are inviting everyone to join the Nebuta Matsuri (Nebuta festival) every August. But, for people who cannot afford to take part in the festivities, there’s still a chance to experience the Nebuta Matsuri throughout the year at the Nebutaya Wa Rasse museum.

    The Meaning of Wa Rasse Nebuta

    Before we take a peek inside the Nebutaya Wa Rasse museum, let’s learn the meaning of each word in the name of the museum. While “rasse ra” is the yell that street performers shout out loud during the festival (and doesn’t have a particular meaning), ‘wa’ literally means ‘harmony’ in Japanese. As for the second part of the name, there are several explanations for the origin of the word but the most widely known one is that the first kanji (Chinese character) of the means ‘world of the dead’ and the second kanji means ‘cover with dirt’. This meaning is used because of what happened to the people one of the native tribes that lived there hundreds of years ago after they got defeated…

    The Museum

    Inside the Nebutaya Wa Rasse, there are gift shops, restaurants, and cafes on the first floor. The most interesting part to see however are the award-winning floats of Nebuta from the past up to the present, as well as the figures of other mythical creatures that are kept inside a darkened gallery on the second floor. Aside from the red fish lanterns hanging on the ceiling there are demons, monsters, and gods crafted by Aomori artists. The museum also offers the experience of a real Aomori thrill, as local performers move these massive floats. There are also exhibits of large taiko drums that are used every year during the parade. Visitors can glean some detailed information about the history, folklores and myths of the festival as well as learn about the process of building lanterns and taiko drums.

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