The Hachinohe Sansha Taisai Festival is held in the city center, from July 31 through August 4 every year. It is a festival to pray and express gratitude for a rich harvest, with a history and tradition of about 290 years.
The floats are designed with themes from various sources such as mythology, legends, war tales, and kabuki. Today, 27 floats, made by the neighborhood associations in the city, join the parade and impress the crowd. In February 2004, it was designated as a national important intangible folk cultural property.
On August 2, the middle day of the Hachinohe Sansha Taisai Festival, "Kagami-Style Kiba Dakyu" is performed at Chojasan Shinra Shrine. Today, this style of dakyu is only performed in Hachinohe, Yamagata prefecture, and the Imperial Household Agency. It is designated as a prefectural intangible folk cultural property.
There are various forms of folk arts performed to pray for good health and well-being, such as kagura, daikagura, and toramai. In particular, the Horyo Kagura of Ogami Shrine is known for its impressive "Issei Hauchi," in which a large group of dancers wear wooden lion head masks and clatter the teeth of the masks all at once; this is performed in the Mikoshitogyo Parade of the Hachinohe Sansha Taisai Festival and the Spring Prayer. It is designated as a prefectural intangible folk cultural property.
Hachinohe Emburi is held at various locations in the city from February 17 to 20 every year. Performers called "tayu," wearing eboshi hats shaped like horse heads with lucky patterns of cranes and turtles, dance with a farm tool called "eburi" in their hands, hence the name Emburi. It is a festival to pray for a rich harvest, which is held at the end of the harsh winter to announce the arrival of the spring.
There are two types of Emburi: the slow, elegant Naga Emburi and the quick, dynamic Dosai Emburi. In between the two, cute dances by children such as Matsu no Mai, Ebisu Mai, Daikoku Mai, and Enko Enko are performed as well. In 1979 it was designated as a national important intangible folk cultural property.
Since 1990 the Nango Summer Jazz Festival, held every July at the Kakko no Mori Echo Land Outdoor Stage, has become a major event which attracts jazz fans from all over Japan.
It is an exciting midsummer festival in which top artists from Japan and around the world gather to perform, with an audience of over 2000 every year.