Bon Odori (Dance) Festival in the center of Tokyo

The Bon Odori Festival was held in Shibuya, one of the largest downtown areas in Tokyo. Traffic was restricted from the famous intersection in Shibuya, and the street became a venue for the dance party.


What is Bon Odori?

Bon Odori is a traditional Japanese summer dance party. Often being held outdoors from evening to night time, participants dance with Japanese traditional pajamas wearing (Yukata). There is a tower in the center of the Bon Odori venue, and the participants dance to the song and turn around it. Dancing is very simple and anyone can join.

Dance music is played with songs that are distinctive in each region. Many of these songs are also based on traditional melodies. The songs themselves are not so old, and there are many cases that something arranged a new hit song is used.

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Although this time is the first time for Bon Odori in Shibuya, if it is popular, it will be considered after next year. Administrative authorities in Shibuya are cooperating with this festival and there seems to be speculation that they want to make it a specialty of the new Shibuya.

Origin of Bon Odori

The prototype of Bon Odori is said to be a religious event that took place about 1000 years ago. This religious ceremony was combined with customs that greeted the spirit of the ancestors in the summer, and Bon Odori was completed.

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Bon dancing has developed extremely as a night party. For that reason there were times when the holding of Bon Odori was forbidden. Extreme Bon dancing seems to have been held until about 100 years ago in some areas, but the current Bon Odori is now familiar as a normal festival.

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Current Bon Odori is not a religious event but a local festival. Therefore, even tourists from overseas can feel free to participate. Also at the Bon Festival venue, many stalls are indispensable for Japanese festivals, and not only meals but also alcohol are sold.

Bon Odori is a good opportunity to experience the summer in Japan.