Along with the previous post on Iwate’s Morioka Sansa Odori, here is the last Great Tohoku Festival: Yamagata City’s Hanagasa Matsuri! “Hanagasa” means “flower hat” in English, and is the main feature of this festival. Dancers wear straw hats covered with artificial flowers of Yamagata Prefecture’s flower, the safflower. In groups wearing the same costumes, dancers dance to the unique music as taiko drummers and other instruments play. The parade is led by flower floats, and over 10,000 people may join in!
The festival is held near Yamagata Station, from August 5th to 7th. You can find more information here. Along with Iwate’s festival, I didn’t get a chance to visit here when I went, to my disappointment. It’s definitely on the list to see next time!
Edit: 2015.11.13: I didn’t get a chance to see the actual festival when I visited Yamagata in October, but I did get to see the dance performed and try it out myself, and I even got the flower hat as a gift!