The Japan Alps and the North Chubu Coast Feature
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Get Your Festival On
Takayama's spring and fall festivals (April 14 and 15 and October 9 and 10) transform the usually quiet town into a rowdy, colorful party, culminating in a musical parade of intricately carved and decorated yatai (floats) and puppets. Flags and draperies adorn local houses, and at night the yatai are hung with lanterns. Book rooms well ahead and expect inflated prices. April's Sanno Matsuri is slightly bigger than October's Hachi-man Matsuri.
During Kanazawa's Hyaku-man-goku Matsuri (early June) parades of people dressed in ancient Kaga costumes march through the city to the sound of folk music. Torchlit Noh theater performances, ladder-top acrobatics by Kaga firemen, and singing and dancing in parks create a contagious atmosphere of merrymaking.
Of the many festivals on the Noto-hanto, the most impressive are Nanao's Seihakusai festival, a 400-year-old tradition where three huge 30-ton wooden Hikiyama (Towering Mountain) floats with unpivoted wheels are hauled around the city streets by locals, held May 3-5, and Issaki Hoto Matsuri, held the first Saturday of August.
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