The General Flow of Kanto Festival

Around June–July – As the festival approaches, practice for the festival are held in each neighborhood. Practices are usually held in large spaces such as parking lots or on streets. Each neighborhood also puts up decorations nearby, prepares the poles, and gets the lanterns ready.

August 3rd–6th: Kanto Matsuri Main Event
Early on August 3rd, the morning that the festival begins, representatives of each group gather at the Hachiman Akita Shrine in Senshu Park to receive the gohei that will be placed on the top of their Kanto poles. During that day, each group also visits various locations including companies that sponsor them and welfare facilities where they do initial performances.
Between August 4th and 6th, Kanto competitions are held, and each group competes to show the results of their practice and training throughout the year. There are 4 categories for the competition: a group set form where groups perform 5 techniques, a group free from where they can lengthen the pole, individuals performing 5 techniques, and festival music performance. The winners of the competition will be written in the annals of victors and their names will become part of the history of Kanto. Spectators of these events can experience thrills different from those of Kanto performed at night.
As evening approaches lanterns are placed on the poles, participants dress up in their costumes and begin moving hurriedly as they prepare to set out toward the festival venue. Participants pray at altars set up in the neighborhood for safety during the festival, and then depart.
At last the festival begins in earnest. The Kanto performance begins on the main street in front of the masses of spectators packed in to watch. The sound of the music and voices chanting “Dokkoisho! Dokkoisho!” brings the energy at the venue to a climax.
After the performance has finished, there is time when audience members can take photos in front of the Kanto poles. After the groups return to their respective neighborhoods, further Kanto performances are held there. There are them parties after a hard day of the festival and they prepare for the next.

August 7th Gohei Nagashi – Early on the morning of August 7th after the festival has concluded, paper charms called gohei are thrown from Karihobashi Bridge into the river. This concludes the festival.

Akita City Folk Performing Arts Heritage Center