Akita Kanto

Akita Kanto is the Japanese harvest festival in Akita City located in the Tohoku region of the northern Honshu island. The festival is held from the 3rd to 6th of August. The main attraction of the festival are the beautiful Kanto poles. The sound of bamboo flutes is the sign for all the 230 Kanto poles to be risen.

Kanto pole
Kanto pole

These bamboo poles are 15 metres long. 46 lanterns are attached to each pole. Four lanterns in the lowest level have the crest of community they the pole represents. On top of each kanto pole there is a gohei (onbe, heisoku). It is a Shinto offering is made of cut paper. Kanto poles have weight of about 50 kilograms. The pole symbolically represents the rice ear.

A person carrying it has to be strong and quite skilled. He wears hanten (short coat), obi (belt), tako (cotton shorts), tabi (traditional socks) and zori ( traditional sandals). When carrying a pole each person use different techniques. He can carry the pole on the lower back (koshi), shoulder (kata), forehead (hitai) and palm (hirate). There is also the handing over technique or nagashi.