Autumn

Dance with Locals at 10 Best Japanese Dance Festivals!

Izumi

Sawada

Writer

Dancing is one of the greatest things that culture creates. In Japan, there are so many beautiful dance festivals. You can see them, enjoy them and also can join some of them. It will be a nice opportunity for you to experience Japanese dances and enjoy Japanese culture. Let’s take a look at 10 Best Dance Festivals in Japan in this article!

Contents

Around Tokyo

1. Shimada Historical Festival
2. Koenji Awa Odori Festival
3. Takasaki Rival Festival

Hokkaido & Tohoku Area

4. Kemanai Bon Odori Festival
5. Traditional Rice Dance
6. Hokkaido Bon Dance Festival

Kinki Area

7. Yosakoi Dance Parade

Kansai Area

8. Takahashi Matsuyama Dance Festival
9. Traditional Dance Music Festival
10. Fukuoka Latina Music Festival

Q&A

・ How to join dance festivals?
・ What to bring to dance festivals?

 

Around Tokyo

 

1. Shimada Historical Festival

This festival has another name, Obi festival, which means a belt in English. As you can see from its name, you can enjoy seeing beautiful traditional Japanese belts here. This festival is for welcoming God and participants have to follow the strict rules to make it sacred during the festival. If you are interested to see all those special dance parades, this one is the best for you.

Date and Access

Date: Every 3 years in October. Next one will be in 2019.

Access:
From Tokyo: Use the bullet train and get off at JR Shizuoka station, then change train. It takes about 30 minutes. Then get off at JR Shimada station.

For more information on this festival check the link below
URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4703/

 

2. Koenji Awa Odori Festival

Do you want to cross Tokyo by dancing? This festival is held in August and it’s for welcoming relative’s souls. People dance Awa Odori, which is very unique and popular dance in Japan. You can also notice the difference between men’s and women’s style of dancing. Guys dance in Happi and perform dynamically, and the ladies are in Yukata and move gently. You will never get tired of this unique performance!

Date and Access

Date: The last week of August

Access: From Shinjuku: You take JR Chuo line and get off at Koenji station. It takes about 10 minutes to walk to the venue.

For more information on this festival check the link below
URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/952/

 

3. Takasaki Rival Festival

This festival is a big competition where everyone can participate. The type of dance performed is called Yosakoi, and this is a combination of traditional Japanese dance moves and modern pop music. You can enjoy performer`s costumes too. They are pretty much different and cool to see. If you love dancing, this is a great opportunity to make new friends who also like dancing.

Date and Access

Date: October 14th, 2018

Access: From Shinjuku station, take Saikyo line to go to Omiya station. From there, take Joetsu Shinkansen and get off at Takasaki station. The place name is Takasaki Ongaku Center (高崎音楽センター) and it is about 15 minutes by walk from the station.

For more information on this festival check the link below
URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4997/

Hokkaido & Tohoku Area

 

4. Kemanai Bon Odori Festival

Bon is a Buddhist celebration to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors. This festival is also related to this custom and has over 400 years of history. At this event, you can see the local culture of Japan along with the casual type of Kimono that ordinary Japanese used to wear. It is a rare chance to see the local dance and you would find it very impressive!

Date and Access

Date: 21st to 23rd of August

Access: Take shinkansen from Tokyo station and change at Morioka station. Then take JR Hanawa Line and get off at “Towada Minami station” and it`s about 5 minutes by bus to “Hauma Nakamachi”.

For more information on this festival check the link below
URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4427/

 

5. Traditional Rice Dance

This festival is an intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO and it is one of the coolest dance festivals in Japan. Performers dance as like they are planting rice, so it is very unique. Also, the dancers wear beautiful kimono, and the music is very traditional so you might think you are time-traveling!

Date and Access

Date: The middle of April

Access: Take shinkansen to Sendai from Tokyo station, and get off at “Aiko” station. Then, take a bus from the station to “Akiu jinja mae”. It will take about 30 minutes.

For more information on this festival check the link below
URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4187/

 

6. Hokkaido Bon Dance Festival

If you also want to dance, this festival is the best! The dancing festival will be held in the evening but before that, there are many things to do. You can grab a beer, or enjoy the costume competition. At the dance festival, DJ will shake the flowers and drive you crazy!! There are many kinds of songs so kids can also have fun!

Date and Access

Date:11th to 17th of August

Access: From Sapporo station, take Nanboku line and get off at “Odori station.”

For more information on this festival check the link below
URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2684/

Kinki Area

7. Yosakoi Dance Parade

The whole festival is on for a few days, and the dance parade is one of the days. Its purpose was to cheer the people up after the World War Ⅱ, and it indeed cheers them up until now. The performance is very stylish and powerful and you would feel very energetic after watching it! There will be a fireworks show and world beer festival too, so there is no reason that you skip this festival!

Date and Access

Date: The head of August

Access: Take shinkansen from Tokyo station, and that will take about 3.5 hours. Get off at Fukui station and it takes 5 minutes by walk from there.

For more information on this festival check the link below
URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/3381/

Kansai Area

 

8. Takahashi Matsuyama Dance Festival

You can enjoy seeing 2 kinds of dance at this festival. One is called Ji-odori, which is very dynamic and powerful. The other is Shikumi-odori, and this one is more soft and neat. The back music will be performed with traditional Japanese instrument – shamisen, which is similar to a guitar. The place will be full of excitement and that will make you move eventually!

Date and Access

Date:14th to 16th of August

Access: Around several minutes walk after reaching Biichu-Takahashi station on JR Hakubi line

For more information on this festival check the link below
URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4590/

 

9. Traditional Dance Music Festival

At this festival, you can enjoy Bugaku, which is a Japanese traditional art and is an Important Intangible Cultural Folk Art. What good about this festival is that you can actually experience traditional Japanese spring. You can listen to the tunes played with Japanese instruments while seeing cherry blossoms. If you are looking for a special and cultural festival, you should like this one.

Date and Access

Date: April 22nd

Access: 12 minutes’ walk from Tennoji Station (JR loop line). Then, 5minutes’ walk from Shitennojimae-yuhigaoka Station (Subway Tanimachi Line)

For more information on this festival check the link below
URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2874/

Kyusyu Area

 

10. Fukuoka Latina Music Festival

Dancing is one of the best ways to have fun with new people. At this festival, you can dance with Latino music at the best beach in the prefecture. The performers come from all over the world including Japan and you can try new dance and moves together. There will be some interesting Latin foods such as squid ink paella, burritos, and empanadas. This festival will make your summer!

Date and Access

Date: 2 days at the end of August

Access: Catch a bus or the subway to Meinohama and head to Meinohama ferry terminal, and the festival is near to the terminal.

For more information on this festival check the link below
URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/1058/

Q&A

How to join dance festival?

If you want to join the dance festival, you can make contact the organizer. Most of the time, participating is free of charge, but it is always good to ask.

What to bring to dance festivals?

Summer in Japan is pretty hot so it is better to bring some drinks and towels to the festival. Also, if you got any registration email, it is nice to prepare it.

My recommendation as a Japanese

Did you find anything interesting? These are the most impressive dancing festival in Japan I’ve ever found.

As a Japanese, I do have very good memories of those dancing festivals since I was a kid. You don’t even need a word, just dancing makes you feel great and it may also help you to find new friends!

Once you join the crowd, you will be one of those who makes the festival cool, and then you can experience fresh-local Japan! It will become a great memory for you too.

If you have any questions about festivals, Huber can help you out.
Huber is a matching service for Japanese local guides and travelers in Japan. Feel free to contact us!

An Ultimate Idea Source for Your Tokyo Stay!

Most of the travelers who come to Japan enter the country through Tokyo. Even if it is not the main place of your destination, it would be a great idea to stay in the capital city for a few days. The biggest conglomerate in the world has much to offer to any kind of traveler. Whether you want to go sightseeing, shopping, eating out, or trying something special that you can experience only in Japan, Tokyo has it all. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Tokyo! Please, have a look, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/7726/ 

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5363/

Don’t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5504/

Izumi Sawada

A 21 year old girl who loves traveling and speaks 5+ languages. Don’t have any house and live on the earth literary. That kind of craziness is all I need in my life!

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