Behold Japan’s tallest seated Buddha statue at a temple in the rural countryside and then then browse the massive and wildly colorful parade floats in a museum downtown.
Arrive at Seiryu-ji Temple, a contemporary Buddhist temple completed in 1984. The highlight of the temple complex is a bronze statue of Buddha seated; the tallest of its kind in Japan. A beautiful greenish patina graces the outdoor statue, which rises nearly 70 feet and blends harmoniously with the forested backdrop.
Nearby stands a magnificent pagoda with five stories that symbolize the elements of the Buddhist universe—water, fire, wind and sky—with the pagoda representing the universe. Also known as the Temple of the Blue-Green Dragon, Seiryu-ji is constructed primarily of cypress, lending it a wonderful fragrance as you browse the interior.
Visit the Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse, which showcases some of the gigantic parade floats from Aomori’s annual Nebuta summer festival. Made of wire, bamboo and fragile washi paper, the brightly colored floats typically depict Japanese gods, historical figures and mythological beings.
To better understand the scope of the parade, which draws millions of people, you might watch an introductory video in the museum or walk through the exhibits in the Nebuta Tunnel. Both detail the history of the festival and how the techniques used to create the floats have changed over the years.