Kesennuma Street Live Festival – Local Music in Miyagi

This spring, Kesennuma brings you its yearly free music festival! Join us on April 20th for the last Kesennuma Street Live Festival of the Heisei era. This event is run by city volunteers who are all excited to reel in the Reiwa era with music and cheer.

Recently, Kesennuma has celebrated the opening of the new Sanriku road, making transportation to the festival easier than ever! The festival is held in the beautiful Seiryoin Temple, which all are welcome to explore while enjoying the performers. One would think temples are only suited for solemn occasions but Seiryoin has happily defied that image by hosting this festival and encouraging everyone to come together in boisterous joy.

Kesennuma Street Live Festival seeks to blend international cultures and generations by showcasing a broad variety of eastern and western music throughout the decades. It has strengthened community ties since 2013 by displaying the talent of many performers and promoting local businesses to help support the economy of Kesennuma post-disaster.

There are three main areas with over two dozen local musicians performing from 10AM~5PM. The performers come from all over Miyagi as well as America to share their passion of music. You can hear everything from modern pop to traditional enka on the main stage of the temple. On the Shito stage indoors, you can enjoy acoustic vocals. Outdoors, on the open air stage by the treehouse, you can party on with rock and jazz. No matter what your favorite genre is, there is something for you to enjoy here!

The venue, Seiryoin, is a Buddhist temple of the Soutou Shuu doctrine and is surrounded by gorgeous views in the lush, mild climate of Miyagi. Down the steps past the temple bell you can see these Jizo statues lining the path by the Japanese cedar forest, protecting travelers like yourself.

This concert also coincides with the blooming of sakura trees in Miyagi, making this event a wonderfully unique place to experience hanami, or “sakura viewing.” These trees dot around the temple between street vendors selling handmade items from Kesennuma, perfect for your omiyage (souvenirs).

For those traveling with children, or who have the heart of one, there is a vast treehouse and playground area to explore, right by the temple. At night, it’s lit up with fairy lights dancing along flag banners and by day it’s an endlessly exciting area to run around in and climb on. There is slack lining, rope ladders, slides, everything to tire out a youngster, along with some hammocks to rest in afterwards, all within earshot of the musicians outside.

After running around and playing, one is bound to have worked up an appetite and street vendors from all over the area bring their specialties to this festival. You have your typical fair food like yakitori (grilled chicken) and tempura, but you can also enjoy spicy curry with rice and perhaps something a little more unique like...

...Mekabu! Mekabu is the flowering part of wakame seaweed, rich in nutrients and lightly sweet. It has the typical soft crunch of a seaweed salad, but if you haven’t grown up with it in Japan, you’ll be surprised by its extremely slimy texture. It feels much like raw okra. In Japan, we call this texture neba neba, and you’ll find it in fermented foods like Japan’s infamous natto (fermented soy beans). Love it or hate it, it’s definitely something to write home about!

The people of Kesennuma are proud to share this event with the world and welcome you into their culture and passions. Join in on the fun and make spring memories you’ll never forget.

For further information

  • Price: free for all! This is a volunteer-run event so donations are welcome, but your presence means the most!
  • When: April 20th, 2019 from 10AM~5PM
  • Where: 17 Motoyoshichō Ōmori, Kesennuma, Miyagi 988-0283
  • There is ample parking around the venue, though carpooling is preferred. By public transportation, it’s a 17 minute walk from Kanazawa Station. For more route information and nearby temples, click here.
  • To follow updates on performers and vendors and see past festivals, click through to Kesennuma’s Street Live Festival Facebook page here.
  • For accommodations and other attractions in the area, click here.

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