• Photo: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Aomori

Throughout the year you can enjoy delicious seafood from Aomori Bay, including Oma no Maguro (tuna of Oma), as well as delicious fruits and vegetables (particularly garlic). And every summer, from August 2 to 7, the town cuts loose during the decidedly wild Nebuta Matsuri festival, a frenzied, utterly unaccountable period when normal gets thrown to the wind. . People come to see illuminated floats of gigantic samurai figures paraded through the streets at night. Aomori's festival, one of Japan's largest, is said to celebrate the euphoria of post-battle victory, and is thus noisier and livelier than you may have been exposed to in other Japanese festivals. Dancers, called heneto, run alongside the floats, dancing and hopping crazily, and you're encouraged to join in–-all you need is to buy or rent a yukata.

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