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Ever since the Tsukuba Express train line opened in 2005 from Akihabara, getting to Tsukuba is a breeze in about 45 min. Wide streets and sidewalks. The festival's main venue centered around this brown building which you see from Exit A5.
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There are many things going on at the same time all day long for two days from 10 am to 9 pm.
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This is Tsukuba Center Hiroba, the central part of the festival where there are food stalls and information booth.
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Tsukuba Tourism Ambassadors
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English translators available! I noticed quite a few foreigners in Tsukuba, a national science and technology research and academic center.
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Center Hiroba outdoor stage センター広場特設ステージ
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A short walk away is this large road serving as a venue for numerous dance groups performing almost all day long. This is also where the nebuta floats would be paraded in the eveing.
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It drizzled off and on during the day.
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A hula troupe dances next to a yosakoi group.
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What would a festival be without taiko drummers?
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Another venue in Creo Square was this small outdoor stage featuring hula dancing all afternoon long by various groups. クレオ前広場
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The program was called Happy Hawaiian Stage. ハッピーハワイアンステージ
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On the other side of the underground train station is Chuo Park where Art Town Tsukuba and street performances were held. アートタウンつくば2009 ~大道芸フェスティバル~
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Kabuki-like magician.
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Chuo Park bazaar
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Street performers
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Street performer (Sign says, "Photography allowed.")
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A nice elevated walkway connected Chuo Park and the main festival area.
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Walking further down the Tsukuba Koen-dori road toward Oshimizu Park.
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In Oshimizu Park were these nebuta tents where they store the nebuta floats. 大清水公演
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The nebuta tents were built in late July. No kids around sketching the nebuta though, as they do in Aomori during the day.
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Inside the nebuta tent was this nebuta float from Aomori, arrived earlier in Aug.
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Patching up the damaged parts of the float. Apparently, it got damaged as it passed under a bridge that is a little too low for the giant nebuta.
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Another giant nebuta float.
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Monkey's underarm has patch-up work.
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A third giant nebuta depicts the Pharaoh Ramses II. Seeing an Egyptian theme on a Japanese float was interesting.
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The fourth giant nebuta was perhaps the most unique. It was made of inflatable vinyl. It is partially deflated here.
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Inside the nebuta tent.
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From about 4 pm, they had the Matsuri Parade on the main road. まつりパレード 万博山車パレード
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万博山車パレード
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Then came this giant mikoshi portable shrine called the Tsukuba Manto Mikoshi. It doesn't seem to belong to any shrine. つくば万灯神輿
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The mikoshi goes to meet the float.
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Banpaku Float
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At 5 pm, the Nebuta Parade started. It was kind of strange to see a nebuta parade in almost broad daylight.
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The floats were covered with plastic due to drizzling rain.
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The first big one squeezes under the bridge.
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Haneto dancers. Much fewer of them than in Aomori.
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At first glance, it looks very strange. But they soon inflated it.
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Being inflated now.
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Another one squeezes through.
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Almost fully inflated.
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Haneto
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Kids dancing
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Hayashi festival music
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This small float by local Boy Scouts.
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This float by a junior high school.
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The inflated nebuta comes around.
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At first, I thought it looked kind of gimmicky, comical, and fake, but it turned out to be quite impressive.
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The slayed dragon exhaled smoke.
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Poor dragon
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Quite dramatic indeed.
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Too bad the plastic was on the floats.
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Rear view.
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Ramses II
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At the very end, despite the rain, they took off the vinyl.
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Rear view of Ramses II
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Each giant nebuta float is preceded by a set of drums and drummers.
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And other musicians.
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Without the plastic covering.
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Rear view has a sleeping cat.
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Nebuta face-off.
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For the finale, all the giant nebuta gathered at the large intersection. They didn't do much.
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Haneto
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Matsuri Tsukuba posters
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Map of central Tsukuba.
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My video of Matsuri Tsukuba and the Nebuta parade.
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