A Demon Museum, a Massive Performing Arts Festival, and Much More


Located in central Iwate, on the border between the old fiefdoms of Nambu to the north and Date to the south, Kitakami has developed a unique cultural heritage. With its unique blend of culture and natural beauty, a visit to Kitakami is a must. In this article, we will explore the various attractions and events that make Kitakami a fascinating destination for travelers.

Don’t Miss

One of the highlights of Kitakami is Onikenbai, a traditional dance from the Kitakami area. This dynamic and powerful performance has been a part of Kitakami’s cultural heritage for over 1,000 years. The performers, dressed in traditional costumes, wield swords and dance to the beat of traditional music. It is a mesmerizing sight that showcases the rich history and tradition of the region.

Another must-visit attraction in Kitakami is the Demon Museum. In keeping with the spirit of demons, the museum houses a vast collection of demon masks, statues, and other unique objects from all over japan and other parts of the world. Demons hold a significant place in Japanese folklore, and this museum provides a comprehensive insight into their various forms and roles in Japanese culture. From scary masks that change when you approach them to lovable characters and cute creatures, the museum offers a fascinating exploration of the world of demons.

How to Get There

Kitakami is easily accessible from Kitakami Station, which can be reached via shinkansen or the Tohoku Main Line. The downtown area of the city is right outside the station, making it convenient for visitors to explore the city on foot. For those who wish to venture further afield, there are buses and taxis available.

Dances with Demons

Kitakami has a long tradition of the performing arts, and there are several traditional dances that are unique to the region. Apart from Onikenbai, there are two other notable dances: Kagura and Shishi Odori. Kagura is a sacred dance performed at shrines and festivals, while Shishi Odori is a lion dance that symbolizes good luck and prosperity.

The most famous of these dances is Onikenbai, also known as the demon sword dance. It is a highly energetic and captivating performance that has been passed down through generations in Kitakami. The dancers, adorned in elaborate costumes, depict the battle between demons and warriors using swords and other traditional props. The rhythmic movements and powerful expressions make Onikenbai a mesmerizing experience for spectators.

Michinoku Performing Arts Festival

To witness the grandeur of Onikenbai and other traditional dances, the best time to visit Kitakami is during the Michinoku Performing Arts Festival. This annual festival takes place on the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of August. During these three days, the streets of Kitakami come alive with over 100 dance teams from all over Tohoku region, showcasing their traditional performances. It is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and heritage of the area.

Floating Lanterns and Big Fireworks

While the Michinoku Performing Arts Festival is primarily focused on traditional dances, it also offers other attractions. On the last night of the festival, visitors can witness a breathtaking display of 10,000 floating lanterns on the Kitakami River. The serene glow of the lanterns creates a magical ambiance, and it is a sight that should not be missed.

To conclude the festival with a bang, there is a spectacular fireworks display with 10,000 fireworks lighting up the night sky. The vibrant colors and dazzling patterns create a mesmerizing spectacle that leaves a lasting impression on visitors.

Other Prime Attractions in the Area

Apart from the cultural attractions, Kitakami offers several other attractions for visitors to enjoy. One of the highlights is the Kitakami Tenshochi Park, which is famous for its cherry blossoms. During the sakura season, the park transforms into a picturesque landscape with thousands of cherry trees in full bloom. Visitors can stroll along the riverside and admire the beauty of the cherry blossoms, making it a perfect spot for hanami, the traditional Japanese custom of flower viewing.

For nature enthusiasts, Kitakami also boasts several hot springs where visitors can relax and rejuvenate. The Geto Ski Resort is another popular destination, offering a range of winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding.


Kitakami is a city that combines rich cultural heritage with stunning natural beauty. From the traditional dances that have been performed for centuries to the unique Demon Museum, there is something for everyone in Kitakami. The Michinoku Performing Arts Festival is an event that showcases the best of Kitakami’s cultural traditions, and the floating lanterns and fireworks add an extra touch of magic to the festivities. Whether you are interested in history, art, or simply want to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of a traditional Japanese festival, Kitakami is a destination that should not be missed.

Address And Maps Location:

Kitakami-shi, Iwate-ken

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