I loved photographing the Matsuri, tanabata, obon and other cultural events while living in Japan.  Aomori is famous for the Nebuta Matsuri.  If you’re not in Aomori during the actual Matsuri the second best experience is visiting the very good Nebuta Museum that houses the floats.  These are incredibly vivid, intricate and at the same time immense floats.  They depict legends, myths and quasi-religious events. The gift shop is filled with t-shirts, trinkets and food from Aomori and worth a visit.  After the museum head over to the A-Factory, warehouse looking buildings across from the museum, for a Japanese style crepe and good cup of coffee.  You can buy more souvenirs, sake, all things “apple” and just take a break and enjoy the vibe.