In August 2014 I saw the three big matsuri (festivals) in the northern Tohokuo region. Neputa matsuri in Aomori and Horosaki cities involves pushing and pulling huge illuminated floats through the streets accompanied by music and and dancing. Kanto matsuri in Akita city involves carrying poles of lanterns with displays of skill in balancing them on various parts of the body.
A car park attendant suggested a free camp site for cyclists and bikers by the ferry port when he'd asked where I was going to camp that night. I followed his car for thirty minutes then came across a car park full of motorbikes.
The following evening the campers changed from their leathers into the bright "haneto" costume then rode into town to dance with the neputa along the procession.
In Hirosaki there was a more local feel to event. The neputa are smaller than the huge commercially sponsored floats in Aomori. The usually week long festival was cut short the following day after a fatal accident involving one of the floats.
Akita Kanto Festival
The edge of a typoon (one of three aproaching the island) hit as I came into Akita. After lining up to start the parade the order came out that the parade was cancelled due to the high winds and rain.