Nebuta-Mura is a tourist attraction in Hirosaki that allows you to experience Nebuta all year round. This museum displays two large fan shaped Nebuta floats and teaches you about the festival and its origins. You can also enjoy shamisen as well as a wide variety of Tsugaru crafts.
The first thing you do when getting to the museum is buying a ticket. I don’t remember all the prices, but for adults the tickets were 550 yen, which is a little more than 5 dollars. The museum has a couple of different buildings that you’ll walk through. Each room has a different theme.
Your first stop will be the Hirosaki Nebuta Hall where you’ll be greeted by two fan shaped floats one 5m and the other 10m, and many other smaller Nebuta decorations. Here you will first sit and listen to an employee explain a little about Nebuta. You can listen in Japanese or English. After the staff finishes their speech, they will then play the taiko drums and flute for you. If you want to try your hand at taiko, the staff will gladly teach you!
After the Hirosaki Nebuta Hall , you’ll walk into the Nebuta Gallery or Ya-Ya Do, which talks a little more about Hirosaki Neputa and Nebuta from all over Aomori. This room has information about Mt. Iwaki and also a “Nebuta demonstration area” where you can see a large display of Kingyo (goldfish) Neputa.
The next building you’ll enter is the Tsugaru Craft Center or Takumi. This building originally was a rice storage warehouse that has been around since the clan government period of Japanese history. Here, you can watch the making of Tsugaru Nuri, Kogin Embroidery, Kokeshi Dolls, Tops, Tsugaru Nishikie Paintings, and Tsugaru Pottery.
After Takumi, you’ll enter Sangendo. This room gives information about Tsugaru shamisen and you can watch live performances from a shamisen master. During corona times there aren’t live performances but they have a video of people playing the Tsugaru shamisen.
When you exit Sangendo you’ll be greeted by a beautiful Japanese garden called Yokein. On a clear day you can see Mt. Iwaki which the garden incorporates as well as Hirosaki Park’s ancient pine trees in the Oishi Bugaku-ryu style, a unique Tsugaru style of gardening. This garden is registered as a national monument along with a quaint little teahouse called Yokian. In the garden you’ll see beautiful Koi which you can feed for 100 yen (about 1 dollar).
The last building you’ll walk into is a top spinning area, Komadokoro. You can try out a number of different tops here. Starting with traditional tops, and then a couple of unique Tsugaru style ones. Right now the room is just a display and offers information on other tourist attractions in Aomori due to COVID-19.
When you exit this room you’ll find yourself in a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs. If you walk down the side of the road there will be a number of vendors selling locally grown produce, and if you haven’t been, across the street is the Hirosaki Park where you can go and visit the castle.
If you only have a limited time in Hirosaki, I highly recommend this museum!