Articles by Simon Bernard    

Fish Are Jumpiní at the 33rd Annual Rokkasho Salmon Festival

The village of Rokkasho, a fledgling community of about 12,000 residents, boasts two big attractions: a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant and the annual Salmon Festival along the Pacific Ocean.

The one that didnít get away!

The Salmon Festival will be November 5th & 6th at the Rokkashoís Obuchi Port. The event was established 33 years ago to promote tourism in the area. It has since grown to be the longest running salmon festival in Aomori. The festival takes place Nov. 5th from 9:00 to 15:00 and Nov. 6th from 9:30 to 16:00. Events include rounds of salmon catching and salmon racing each day. The ankle deep pool is stocked with over 1,000 salmon for the festival.

If she could catch one, you can too!

Advanced tickets have already been sold. But the town will have some tickets for sale right before the rounds of salmon catching at the site and will have announcements in English & Japanese right before they go on sale. The town hall said that if you hear an announcement at the salmon catch site, go immediately to the reception desk (in front of the building where the stage show/BBQ is being held) and line up to buy a ticket. Last year they sold 400 tickets at the site. In addition, the first 6 people that catch their salmon during each round can participate (for free) in the salmon race. Your will be able to race your salmon against the competition to win a prize! By the way, there is free fish cleaning next to the salmon catch site.

Fast catch a salmon and bring it to the salmon race, first 6 people only!

Entrance to the festival is free of charge. For those catching by hand, it is recommended to bring your own wading boots and gloves. Many people prefer to participate bare-foot. A warm change of clothes is recommended because everyone who participates gets wet during the salmon catch.

Face it, youíre gonna get wet and have fun doing it!

Hello Kitty, Cinamon Roll, traditional folk dancers, popular bands and singers, and many other performers will be featured on the festivalís stage. Games for adults & children will be help on stage including a blowgun tournament. Other events include seafood and vegetable wholesale markets, local delicacy mini sales, and bingo. You can buy a ticket at the site for the Beef Bar-B-Q and they will set you up will all you need to cook your own!

Buy a Bar-B-Q ticket and cook yourself a hot lunch!

400 FREE MALE SALMON WILL BE GIVEN AWAY TO THE FIRST 400 PEOPLE STARTING AT 9:00 SATURDAY MORNING! Line up at the reception/information booth to get a ticket which you can exchange for the salmon from 10:30 ~11:00. Jr. High students have priority. The festival is not for commercial purposes. The catch helps preserve local fishery resources. During the festival, local fishermen also catch salmon and extract their eggs. The eggs are hatched and released the following spring at the upper stream of the Oippe River. In three to five years, the grown fish make their way back to Rokkasho.

Salmon fishing in Japanese rivers is prohibited. The salmon used at the Rokkasho festival are all ocean caught, (not in the rivers like other salmon festivals) before they go in to the spawning (chum) phase, making them the freshest, best tasting salmon you can get your hands on.

One reason why so few tickets are sold for the salmon catch is that they send the boat out in the morning and they sell as many extra tickets as salmon they catch that day! Now that is fresh!

You canít get any fresher salmon than these!

This festival has more of a ďblue-collarĒ atmosphere as the locals come out on Sunday morning to race their home-grown horses and wrestle their dogs for bragging rights. It has become quite popular and last year attracted thousands of sightseers.
English speaking staff will be on hand around the festival to help you.

For more information call Misawa ITT at 226-3555.

Tohoku Strong Horse Iron Pull Competitions: where else are you gonna see something like this?!

If you go:

Rokkasho Town is only a 45 minute drive north of Misawa Air Base. Go out the main gate, turn left at the first light and go straight until you hit the T at the Pacific Ocean. Turn left, you will now be on Rt. 338 going north. From the T go 21.9km and turn right at the light (there will be a convenience store on the left at this light). Follow this road 6.6 km and turn right (the sign will point to the Rokkasho Village Office) follow this road 6.6 kilometers and turn right (there is a small post office on the left). This road will take you to the festival site at the pier.

Events take place rain or shine

Saturday, November 5th

09:00 to 09:30 Free salmon ticket give away to the first 400 people.
09:30 to 09:50 Opening ceremony
9:50 to 10:15 Agricultural show awards ceremony
10:20 to 10:40 Performance by Rokkasho high school brass band
10:40 to 11:40 Male salmon give-way to those already holding a voucher.
11:00 to 14:00 Lake Ogawara Beef Bar-B-Q
11:30 to 12:00 Salmon Catch/ Salmon Race (1st Round)
11:30 to 15:00 Mini Salmon egg on rice delicacy/salmon soup sale starts
11:40 to 12:40 Blowgun tournament in Rokkasho
13:00 to 13:30 Salmon Catch/ Salmon Race (2nd Round)
12:50 to 13:30 Song performance by Reiko Konishi
13:40 to 14:20 Rock-shu-s jazz band concert
14:00 to 14:30 Salmon Catch/ Salmon Race (3rd Round)
09:30 to 15:00 Seafood and agricultural products for sale

Sunday, November 6th

09:30 to 14:30 Seafood and vegetable wholesale fair
10:00 to 10:30 Stage performance by Hello Kitty & Cinnamon roll
10:00 to 10:40 Special Rokkasho sake lottery ticket give-away
10:00 to 14:00 Fishing contest
10:20 to 10:50 Salmon Catch/ Salmon Race (1st Round)
11:00 to 12:00 Japanese Mitsuha-style dance of Hidejuís Club
11:00 to 12:00 Safety Boat Ride
11:00 to 13:00 Mini Salmon egg on rice delicacy/salmon soup sale
11:00 to 14:00 Lake Ogawara Beef Bar-B-Q
12:20 to 12:50 Stage performance by Hello Kitty & Cinnamon roll
12:30 to 13:00 Salmon Catch/ Salmon Race (2nd Round)
13:00 to 13:30 Lottery for ticket holders for the special Rokkasho sake
13:30 to 14:00 Local fresh seafood AUCTION
14:00 to 14:30 Stage performance by Hello Kitty & Cinnamon roll
14:30 to 15:15 Free Bingo tournament (get your cards early at the reception booth)

Hot local soup on a cool autumn day will warm you up!


1. Childrenís Green Group will be giving away tree saplings and collecting donations. Saturday November 1st from 9:00 to 10:00
2. Save The Environment Experiments will be performed on the site November 1st and 2nd 10:00 to 14:00.
Lots of interesting local entertainment!

Lots of interesting local entertainment!