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Just about every community in Japan puts on a local festival in the summer, but few are as spectacular as Aomori City’s Nebuta Matsuri. For almost a solid week, gigantic floats topped by lanterns shaped like samurai and dragons are paraded through the streets, accompanied by dancers and musicians.

But while Aomori is one of the largest cities in the largely rural Tohoku region of Japan, its relatively remote location in the northeastern corner of the country’s main island of Honshu means not everyone can make it out to see the festivities in-person. As long as you’ve got an Internet connection, though, you can get a taste of the fun with Google’s awesome Nebuta Matsuri Street View that lets you see the amazing floats even closer-up than spectators standing on the sidewalks the towering works of art are carried by.

For the Nebuta Matsuri, a number of Aomori City’s main roads are shut down in the evenings from August 2 to 7. However, this year the streets didn’t become the domain of only the floats and groups carrying them, but also a Google employee wearing the company’s Street View Trekker backpack-mounted omnidirectional camera.

Google’s Japanese arm recently shared the results on its official blog, and they’re the next best thing to being there.

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Not only does being so close to the floats help convey just how huge they are, moving around to the side and back lets you appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each and every angle of their form.

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This being Street View, if you see an intriguing cluster of lights further down the road, a few quick clicks will bring you to the next float in the procession, like these fierce warriors, humongous dragon, and cat-like monster.

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Momotaro and his animal companions look to have just finished subduing this ogre.

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▼ Swordsman atop a horse atop a float pulled by people

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But while just about everyone in Aomori comes out to see the Nebuta Matsuri, the parade route doesn’t go down every street in town. Click too far, and you’ll suddenly find yourself in the mundane setting of an ordinary afternoon in the city center.

▼ This four-door Toyota would be pretty plain under any circumstances, but it feels all the more so after all the glowing samurai and mythical beasts.

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But whereas real-life visitors to the Nebuta Matsuri have to wait at least a day (or in the case of the festival’s final night, an entire year) to see the floats again, Google Street View lets you go back and see the spectacle again any time you want just by clicking here.

Related: Google Street View Aomori Nebuta Matsuri
Sources: Japaaan, Google Japan Blog
Images: Google Street View Aomori Nebuta Matsuri