Funai Pacchin Festival


Mid-summer every year, Funai Pacchin brings a visually extravagant and wonderfully crashing soundscape to Oita City when thousands throng the streets to celebrate Tanabata, a traditional summer festival held throughout Japan.

Held over three days in early August, this vibrant festival is centred on nebuta floats, which are splendidly larger than life depictions of multi-hued illuminated samurai warriors, being paraded vigorously up and down Oita’s central boulevard. Each nebuta is trailed by colourfully attired groups dancing and chanting flamboyantly to the thunderous sound of drums accompanied by whistles and cymbals. From the top of the nebuta cheerleaders passionately urge everyone on at the top of their amplified voices while spectators add their enthusiastic applause to the proceedings.

The carnival atmosphere spreads into the surrounding streets where the locals set up stalls providing drinks, snacks and good conversation to passers by. Pacchin begins more quietly with static displays of the nebuta, delightful parades of children dancing, before the atmosphere begins to ratchet up first with performances by athletic taiko drummers and samurai warriors re-enacting the firing of tanegashima muskets. The following wonderful cacophony surrounding the nebuta cavalcade finally closes with many an exhausted - it is after all when the summer heat and humidity are at their peak - but happy participants, who then head to the surrounding bars and restaurants to quench their thirsts.

Japan, Oita, 大分市

At a glance

Oita City's wonderfully vibrantly vigourous and popular mid-summer festival.

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