• Finished


Food, traditional arts, entertainment…Get to know the myriad attractions of Tohoku & Tokyo!

From tasty foods to fun doings, a variety of specialty products and activities from Tokyo and Tohoku’ås six capital cities and prefectures are gathered in one place! Unique Tohoku products, publicity events where prefecture mascot characters appear on stage, old-fashioned candy stores that bring smiles to the faces of children and adults alike, demonstrations of traditional Edo firefighting techniques, which require great skill and courage, Sendai’s magnificent Tanabata decorations, traditional Japanese crafts workshop and more! Come to Toranomon Hills and experience all the great things-old and new, traditional and modern-that Tohoku and Tokyo have to offer.


Sendai’s spectacular Tanabata decorations!

The atrium of Toranomon Hills will showcase Sendai’s Tanabata decorations, which fill the city with dazzling color every year in July. Here’s your chance to see the gorgeous Tanabata decorations without traveling to Sendai.

Tuesday, November 15 – Sunday, November 20 2016, 11:00-23:00
Toranomon Hills Atrium, 2nd Floor

Traditional performing arts and entertainment of Tohoku & Tokyo

A variety of activities will be provided, including on-stage publicity events held by individual Tohoku prefectures and traditional performances of Tokyo.

Saturday, November 19 – Sunday, November 20 2016, 11:00-18:00
Toranomon Hills Oval Plaza, 2nd Floor

Aomori City
The Aomori Nebuta Festival, held in Aomori City from August 2nd to 7th each year, is an event that stirs the passions of Aomori residents. It features enormous illuminated floats, the festival’s main attraction, as well as lively festival music and energetic dancers (called Haneto) moving in complete harmony. Designated an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan, it attracts a large number of tourists each year as a world-class fire festival. Anyone can participate in the dancing as long as they wear the Haneto costume, so why not join in and experience the passion of this summer festival?
Akita City
The Akita Kanto Festival is said to have originated as a folk event to drive away midsummer sickness and evil spirits, and it has been handed down from generation to generation over the course of three centuries. Bamboo poles (kanto) are hung with rows of paper lanterns shaped like bags of rice, representing the community’s prayers for a bumper harvest. The poles are around 12 meters long and weigh as much as 50 kilograms, making them bend over. The performers accomplish astounding feats as they support the poles on the palms of their hands, their foreheads, their shoulders, and their lower backs with an exquisite sense of balance said to be forty percent strength and sixty percent skill. Each of the lanterns contains a burning candle, and when around 280 kanto are raised together like gleaming ears of rice along the Avenue, they look like the Milky Way, bringing vivid illumination to the short summer months in Akita.
Morioka City
Morioka Sansa Odori Festival, held for the first time in 1978, is one of Iwate Prefecture’s most notable summer festivals. Next year marks the 40th time that the festival will be held. The dance procession includes a large number of Japanese drums, said to number as many as 10,000: Sansa was included in the Guinness Book of Records in 2014 as the largest Japanese drum ensemble in the world. The Sansa Odori dance has its origin in the legend of Mitsuishi. It is said that once upon a time an ogre appeared in a village and rampaged around causing trouble. At their wits’ end, the villagers prayed to the god at Mitsuishi Shrine to get rid of the ogre. The god caught the ogre and made him promise that he would never cause trouble again, forcing the ogre to make a handprint in the three big rocks within the shrine grounds to seal his promise. Delighted at the ogre’s departure, the villagers celebrated by dancing and singing“ sansa, sansa,” and allegedly this was how the Sansa Odori started.
Yamagata City
The Yamagata Hanagasa Festival comes to Shintora from Yamagata City, a place of beautiful nature, interesting culture and history, and great seasonal food. The festival, which brightens the summer nights of Yamagata, is known throughout Japan as one o f Tohoku’s top summer festivals. Leading the festival procession this time is the Hanagasa Dance Troupe, which performs the graceful and joyous Hanagasa Odori for all to follow. The troupe is working to spread the Hanagasa dance to other parts of Japan as well as abroad and takes part in international goodwill tours and cultural exchanges. They will perform at the Oval Plaza, so take this opportunity to get a first-hand look at Yamagata’s Hanagasa dance.
Sendai City
Sendai, Tohoku’s biggest metropolis, is a city steeped in history, having been ruled by Date Masamune, a powerful samurai lord, in the feudal age. Sendai is called a“ City of Trees” owing to its verdant cityscape best represented by the beautiful tree-lined Jozenji-dori Avenue in the city center. The magnificent Sendai Tanabata Festival and the Sendai Aoba Festival, an annual spring event, are both considered to preserve the culture of Masamune’s time. At the TOKYO SHINTORA MATSURI, members of the Oshu Sendai Welcome Squad Date Bushotai and the Sendai Date-no-Mai Suzume Odori Goodwill Tour, together with the Sendai Mori-no-Miyako Goodwill Ambassadors, will convey the many charms of the two festivals.
Fukushima City
Fukushima Waraji Festival, which originates from the 300-year-old Akatsuki festival of Mount Shinobu, is held in early August every year to maintain the tradition of possessing Japan’s largest waraji (traditional sandals made of woven straw), raise the hometown spirit, and enjoy Tohoku’s short summer. During the MATSURI, the Oval Plaza will host a Giant Waraji Parade, races of people carrying waraji, and performances of the reggae-ish Heisei Waraji Folk Dance and a hip-hop version of the Waraji Festival song. A medium-sized waraji will be used in the parade instead of the full-sized one used in the actual Festival. Members of four Fukushima youth organizations involved in running the Fukushima Waraji Festival (Junior Chamber International Fukushima, Youth Section of the Fukushima Shopping Center Federation, Young Entrepreneurs Group of Fukushima, and Go-ashi Kai will play key roles.
Edo Tobi Kiyari / Traditional Edo workmen’s chant
A display of traditional Edo firefighters’ skill and bravery
Kiyari was originally a work song used to synchronize and unite the strengths of many people working together. It is believed that Kiyari was first sung by tobi (construction workers) and eventually became an integral part of the hikeshi (firefighter) tradition, because many members of local fire brigades were tobi. Edo firefighters’ 110 Kiyari songs in eight categories have been collectively designated an Intangible Cultural Property of Japan.
Matoi first appeared in the 15th Century as battle standards of samurai commanders. It was later adopted by hikeshi as fire brigade banners and cherished as a symbol of solidarity. Matoi consists of an upper part, which can be in any shape or design, a lower part made of 48 strips of paper or leather, and a long pole. It is about 2.4 meters long and weighs a bout 20 kilograms.
【Ladder-top stants】
Ladders-top stants were used by hikeshi (fire fighters) as scaffolds for checking fire conditions and tools for rescuing lives. Firefighters practiced hard every day to improve their ladder wielding skills. A hikeshi ladder is 6.5 meters long. To keep the ladder upright and steady with just 12 hooked poles, technical skill and well-coordinated interaction are needed between the performer on the swaying ladder and the person supporting the ladder down below. Solid trust between the two is the secret to creating an outstanding performance. There are three main types, or 48 subtypes, of hikeshi ladder stunts.

Traditional Japanese crafts workshop

Live demonstrations and workshops by Craftspeople. The workshops provide a fun and hands-on way to learn about the making of traditional handcrafts, such as crafts made out of Japanese washi paper.

Sunday, Novemver 20 2016, 11:00-18:00
Toranomon Hills Forum, 4th Floor Hall B
Number of guests
The first 20 people (10 couples) in each session
Participation fees
Free of charge

Workshop on “otoko-shitate” (men’s style) sewing
“Otoko-shitate” is a skill possessed by craftspeople with over 40 years of experience sewing and making quality kimonos. This workshop allows participants to experience this technique of sewing by maneuvering the fabric with their two hands and big toe without the help of any tools. Participants will choose one of the following to make: accessory made of Japanese fabric; kimono-shaped pocket tissue case; folding fan case; and keychain in the shape of a Japanese sandal.
Workshop on tile mosaic art
Tiles come in a variety of colors, shapes, and expressions unique to earthenware and match with any kind of building material, both Japanese and Western. It is also a highly functional material that is both environmentally-and people-friendly. Master craftspeople who have continued the traditional technique of tile mosaic art will guide participants in making tile mosaic coasters out of small tiles of various shapes.
Workshop on mini lamp shade making using Japanese washi paper
Interior decoration constitutes the final touchups in architecture. In particular, wallpaper has profound meaning, and hanging it involves a variety of techniques. The finished look will differ considerably depending on the skills of the craftspeople. A master craftsman in interior decoration of the contemporary era who has received the
Medal with Yellow Ribbon will guide participants in making mini lamp shades using bamboo sticks and Japanese washi paper.


Tokyo Shintora Matsuri Executive Office
TEL: 03-5771-9686 (Weekday 11:00-17:00)


Toranomon Hills


Organized by
Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture), TOKYO SHINTORA MATSURI Executive Committee (Shintora-dori Avenue Area Management Association / Quaras Inc.)
Subsidized by
Sponsored by
Shintora-dori Avenue Area Management Council
Special Cooperation
Tokyo 23 Ward All Nippon Collaboration Project (Tokyo 23 Ward・Metropolitan Tokyo mayors' Council)
Tohoku Rokkon Festival Committee, Minato Ward