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1.3 Million Tourists At The Annual Japanese Awa Odori Street Dance Festival

1.3 Million Tourists At The Annual Japanese Awa Odori Street Dance Festival

on Aug. 3, 2013 by

I was fortunate enough to attend the Japanese Dance Festival in Nakameguro where 20 dance teams perform traditional dance styles

awa odori festival in naka-meguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanforeigners participating at the awa odori festival in naka-meguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori festival in naka-meguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori festival in naka-meguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japan

As a fan of ParaPara I truly enjoy any Japanese dance so last Saturday I went to the Awa Odori together with my friend Heather.

awa odori festival in naka-meguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori festival in naka-meguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japan

The Nakameguro Summer Matsuri Awa Odori is one of the Awa Odori festivals in Tokyo. Nakameguro Summer Matsuri contains two dance parades during the entire weekend.

the awa odori festival in naka-meguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanthe awa odori festival in naka-meguro

There are about 20 dance teams participating and show off their unique Awa Odori dance to the audiences.

awa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanheather and I cheersing at the awa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japana non foreigner friendly menu! - learn your Japanese kids in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanthe street getting ready for the parade in Meguro, Tokyo, Japan

Heather took me to a very cozy beer hall where we drank Hoppy in the Ebisu district prior to the event.

night time at the awa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japannight time at the awa odori matsuri in nakameguro

The Awa Odori festival grew out of the tradition of the Bon odori which is danced as part of the Obon "Festival of the Dead", a Japanese Buddhist celebration where the spirits of deceased ancestors are said to visit their living relatives for a few days of the year.

getting food with Heather-chan in Meguro, Tokyo, Japana Japanese beer hall in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanheather at the awa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japan

They march through the streets in unison to music performed on the shamisen, flute, drums, and bells singing "Odoru aho ni miru aho; onaji aho nara odoranya son son!" (It's a fool who dances and a fool who watches; if both are fools, you might as well dance!).

food and hoppy drinks at Ebisu in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanfood and hoppy drinks at Ebisu

The dancing style is believed to have been invented one night in 1585, when construction of a new castle for the lord of the Awa domain was completed. During the party held to celebrate the new castle, people got so drunk that they started dancing with their arms and legs flailing.

the famous Japanese Hoppy drink in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanpreparing for the awa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japan

The movements are really simple; all you have to do is keep your legs and arms moving forward with as much vigor as possible. Men dance in tabi (split-toed, rubber-soled socks), while women wear sandals, their heels not touching the ground.

awa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro

One rule you have to observe is to keep your hands and arms above your shoulder while dancing. 

awa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japanawa odori matsuri in nakameguro in Meguro, Tokyo, Japan

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