Akita's big bash is the Kanto Festival held annually in early August from 3rd-6th of the month.
The roots of the festival, which began in Edo times, are to seek a bountiful harvest from the gods.
Beautifully painted paper lanterns, once illuminated with candles, and now with electric lights are attached to bamboo poles and balanced by their bearers using their hands, foreheads and hips. The poles and the lanterns can weigh between 5-50kg.
The Kanto Festival is one of northern Japan's biggest festivals along with the Tanabata festival in Sendai and the Nebuta festival in Aomori.
To see a demonstration of the festival head to the Akita City Folklore & Performing Art Center where visitors can see a live performance of the incredible balancing acts and also watch videos of past festivals. Costumes, instruments and posters from the matsuri are also on display.
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