Hachinohe is a city located in Aomori, Japan. As of 2003, the city has an estimated population of 241,663 and a density of 1,129.42 persons per km². The total area is 213.97 km².
The city was founded on May 1, 1929. It was a castle town during the Tokugawa era (1603–1867) and served as a small commercial centre and port for the fishing grounds off southeastern Hokkaidō. Today, the port still serves the fishing industry as well as a number of international cargo vessels.
The northern terminus of the Tōhoku Shinkansen is at Hachinohe Station. The symbol of Hachinohe is a black horse with gold saddle markings and a decorative plume attached to its head.
During the Meiji era, there was a debate as to whether the capital of newly-formed Aomori Prefecture should be at Hachinohe or Hirosaki; in the end the Meiji government decided to build a new town called Aomori and designate it as the capital of the prefecture. On March 31, 2005 the village of Nangou was merged into Hachinohe.
Tourism Attractions and Festivals: Kabushima Shrine is a sacred shrine that also serves as a habitat for forty thousand seagulls. It is situated on the bayside. There is a festival there on the third Sunday of April each year.
Enburi is a city-wide festival which is also celebrated in nearby towns. The object of the festival is to pray for a bountiful harvest in the coming year. It originated as a dance with an agricultural tool (the eburi), which was used to teach people how to cultivate the land. Nowadays it is a parade of 15-20 people, with 3-5 dancers and a singer accompanied by wooden flutes, drums and bells. The festival takes place from February 17th to the 20th, and marks the official end of the long, harsh winter.
Sansha Taisai is another city-wide festival and is considered to be the main festival of the town. It is also billed as "Japan's Biggest Float Festival". Sansha means "three shrines" and Taisai means "festival": It is held by three shrines (jinja): Ogami Jinja, Shinra Jinja, and Shinmeigu. Floats proceed through the main streets of the city, accompanied by people with drums, flutes and loud calls. 27 different floats are used, and they are proudly constructed and flourished by the members of various organisations, such as schools and the city hall. The floats are also accompanied by men in samurai costumes on horseback, and Tiger Dancers. On the second and third days of the festival, a traditional game of a sport similar to polo is held at the stables of Shinra Shrine. This sport is officially an "intangible cultural asset" of the prefecture of Aomori. Sansha Taisai takes place from July 31st to August 4th every year.
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