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Ishitori Festival3-6 August Kasuga Shrine, Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture Known as the loudest festival in Japan.Participants ring bells and hit taiko drums while more than 40 floats parade the city.The floats are surrounded by costumed dancers who dance to the sound of flutes and drums. It is said that the Aomori Nebuta festival dates back to the 9th century when a local feudal lord used lantern-lit floats to make his forces look bigger.Since then, it has come to be believed that the fearsome faces help to wake sleepy souls in the heat of summer.Wasshoi Hyakuman Summer Festival2-4 August Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture City-wide festival bringing the area's three biggest Gion festivals together in one place. Nebuta Matsuri2-7 August Aomori, Aomori Prefecture A parade of about sixty bamboo and paper lanterns in the shape of historical or legendary heroes.
Access: Sendai Station Niigata Festival7-9 August Niigata City Niigata's largest festival.
Shimizu Minato Matsuri2-4 August Shimizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture Commemorates the reopening of Shimizu port to international trade.
Tens of thousands gather to dance in the streets, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the fireworks display over the bay at Hinode Wharf.
Takasaki Matsuri3-4 August Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture Big summer event with a lively parade of mikoshi carried by happi-wearing bearers and surrounded by music, dancing and street vendors.
The festival closes with one of the biggest fireworks displays in the Kanto area at Karasu-gawa River.
Hanakasa Matsuri5-7 August Yamagata City More than 10,000 townspeople, all wearing hanagasa, (low-rimmed straw hats adorned with flowers) dance their way through the main streets of the city. Peace Ceremony6 August Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima A solemn ceremony is held on the anniversary of the atom-bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 as a memorial to victims and survivors.