Tohoku Rokkonsai Festival. Fukushima June 2013
Japan is famous for its summer festivals and every prefecture has its own unique one. Since the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, the six northern prefectures (Fukushima, Yamagata, Miyagi, Iwate, Akita and Aomori) have started holding all 6 prefectural festivals in one city, in an event known as Rokkonsai. In summer 2011 , the first Rokkonsai was held in Sendai, then Morioka (Iwate) in 2012 and this year it was Fukushimas turn. The weather could not have been better, the mild late spring weather and brilliant blue skies ensured more than 250,000 people filled the streets of Fukushima for the event.
The main event involved the 6 prefectural festivals parading down the main road of Fukushima city. Just before the parade however we were treated to a show by the Blue Impulse Air Self Defence Force. The air base, in Matsushima (Miyagi Prefecture) was wiped out in the tsunami and this was one of its first displays since being re-established.
The festival was a huge success with more than 250,000 people flocking to Fukushima for the weekend. In fact, the sheer number of people made getting a good view of the parade route quite a challenge so we picked ourselves up a couple of “ji-beer” and watched the parade on a large monitor to the sounds of Taiko drummers in the background.