Kojiya Awa Odori Festival Brings Tokushima-inspired Dance to Tokyo

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Kojiya Awa Odori Festival

Immerse Yourself in the Energetic Rhythms and Colorful Traditions of Tokyo Events in August: Experience the Dynamic Kojiya Awa Dance.

A Colorful and Energetic Summer Highlight in Ota City

The Kojiya Awa Odori Festival, a lively celebration inspired by the Awa Dance Festival from Tokushima Prefecture, is set to take place in early August 2023. This high-spirited Japanese folk dance event will be held at Kojiya Shotengai, a shopping street in Ota City, Tokyo.

Awa Odori is famous for its irregular and energetic dance movements. The festival attracts around 600 enthusiastic spectators who line up 10 rows deep along the shopping street to cheer on the dancers. Around 150 kids also join in this thrilling performance, making it one of Ota City’s summer highlights.

Feel the Pulse of Traditional Japanese Culture at the Kojiya Awa Dance, a Captivating Celebration that Transcends Time and Ignites the Spirit of the Hibiya Bon Odori Festival.

Origins of Awa Odori: From Tokushima Castle Celebration to Japan’s Largest Dance Festival

Awa Odori’s roots can be traced back to Tokushima on the island of Shikoku. Legend has it that the dance originated as a celebration following the construction of Tokushima Castle. Townspeople were said to have consumed large amounts of sake and spontaneously begun dancing in a drunken state, creating what we now know as Awa Odori.

Held from August 12 to 15th annually, the authentic Awa Dance Festival occurs during Obon, a Japanese Buddhist festival honoring deceased ancestors. Attracting over 1.3 million tourists every year, Awa Dance Festival is considered Japan’s largest dance festival.

Ren groups of choreographed dancers and musicians parade through the streets, accompanied by shamisen lutes, taiko drums, shinobue flutes, and kane bells. Dancers wear traditional obon outfits while they chant and sing throughout the procession.

The History of Awa Dance: From Kamakura Period to Modern Festivities

The earliest origins of Awa Odori’s dance style can be found in the Japanese Buddhist priestly dances of Nembutsu-odori and hiji-odori during the Kamakura period (1185–1333). The energetic dance also shares similarities with kumi-odori, a lively harvest dance that lasts for several days.

Local historian Miyoshi Shoichiro suggests Awa Odori’s popular association with Lord Hachisuka Iemasa’s drunken celebration at Tokushima Castle in 1586 first appeared in a Mainichi Shimbun newspaper article in 1908. However, this account remains disputed due to a lack of concrete evidence.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding some aspects of its history, Awa Dance Festival is undeniably an essential part of the region’s cultural heritage, growing from a local tradition into an unforgettable annual spectacle in both Tokushima Prefecture and Kojiya Shotengai.

Experience the Kojiya Awa Odori Festival

The Kojiya Awa Odori Festival offers a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the thrilling essence of the renowned Awa Dance Festival without traveling to Tokushima Prefecture. Get ready to immerse yourself in this vibrant and unforgettable Japanese cultural experience this summer at Kojiya Shotengai.

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