The Aomori Nebuta Festival is one of the three major festivals in the Tohoku region, and it is held from August 2 to 7 every year. The soul-stirring scene in which Haneto dancers chanting “rassera” and a huge hanging lantern-shaped float called the Nebuta march through the streets is a special summer attraction in Aomori. The huge float, about 5 meters high and 9 meters wide, is created by craftsmen called Nebutashi over the course of nearly a year. Its artistic features are highly evaluated in other countries as well.
Nanbu cast ironware is a specialty product in Iwate prefecture and is one of major Japanese traditional crafts. Nanbu cast ironware is produced in Morioka, where the Nanbu clan first ordered the production of iron teakettles for tea ceremonies in the Edo period (1603-1867), and Mizusawa (now Oshu City), where the ironware was used as cast-metal daily articles since the Heian period (794-1191). The ironware also attracts a lot of attention overseas for its high-level cooking functions created by the unique production method. In addition, colorful iron kettle products are now marketed and are becoming popular.
Akita has long been known as a prefecture where there are many fair-skinned beautiful women. “Akita beauties” are called “Akitakomachi,” which is derived from the belief that Ononokomachi, who is one of the three most beautiful women in the world, was born in Akita. Yuzawa City, which is closely connected with Ononokomachi, hosts the Komacho Festival in June every year. We created a figure of a “Komachi girl” wearing a straw lampshade hat for this festival as an image of “Akitakomachi.”
Date Masamune was the first lord of the Sendai domain who was widely known as “Masamune, the one-eyed dragon” during the Warring States period (1467-1568). The statue of Date Masamune riding on a horse that stands on what used to be the castle tower of the Sendai Castle (Aoba Castle), which was built in 1610, is located on high ground overlooking the whole landscape of the City of Sendai, and is a popular tourist destination. The statue of Lord Masamune watches the city in a manly posture wearing an armor with a moon-shaped crest, which is said to be the trademark of the lord.
Tendo City in Yamagata prefecture is famous for its production of Shogi pieces. At the Tendo Cherry Blossom Festival held in April every year on Mt. Maizuru, which is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms, people become Shogi pieces and literally play a game of Shogi. This is a unique event in which “piece soldiers” clad in armor costumes move on a huge board about 17 meters long by about 14 meters wide according to the moves of professional Shogi players. It is a well-known event in Tendo that has taken place since 1956.
Kitakata Ramen, which originated from the City of Kitakata in Fukushima prefecture, are characteristic flattened noodles with unique wavy curls. Their origin is said to have been Sino-soba noodles that were sold from the street stands carried by young Chinese people from the late Taisho period (1912-1925) to the early Showa period (1926-1989). These noodles gradually became popular among towns people and came to be served by ‘shokudo’ (restaurants). This is probably the reason why there are still many ramen shops whose names include the word ‘shokudo’.
The Seikan Tunnel opened in March 1988, almost 40 years after the plan for it was conceived. More than half of its entire length of 53.85 kilometers runs along the bottom of the sea, and the Tsugaru Strait, which could only be crossed by ship before the construction of the tunnel, was traversed by land routes, which enabled people to travel in greater safety. The tunnel became a main artery connecting Hokkaido and the Japanese mainland. Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train) Line will open in March 2016, 28 years after the tunnel was opened. We produced a model of the Shinkansen Series H5 running in the tunnel.
“MICHINOKU FIGURE MIYAGE” is the miniature figures of famous institutions in Tohoku region : Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima.