There is no special dancing skill requirement when it comes to Awa Odori. Dancing like a fool is expected. No one cares who does, the only rule is to keep dancing until absolutely wrecked tired. Awa Yoshikono is the song which is sung and chanted by the participants in the parade. “Some fools dance, and some fools watch. You’re a fool either way, so why not dance?” are the words come from the song and is the sentiment of the whole cultural festival. So be foolish and dance!
The parades of thousands of dancers divided into groups dance in different form of styles while the music is beautifully accompanied by the sound of shamisen, taiko drums and shinobue flutes.
Many dance troupes come into the city to take part in the fesitivities, to sparkle and dance in front of millions of visitors. See dance groups that participate in the dancing from Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and many more communities.
‘Veterans and amateur dancers, taiko drummers and flute players form a parade of thousands of dancers while accompanied by the magical sound of shamisen, taiko drums and shinobue flutes.’
The costumes are a cultural vision and is amazingly colorful and elegant. Men usually wear happi, which is a short coat, and shorts while women display their dancing skills wearing thei summer kimono, geta sandals and straw hats.
As well as the big street parades, dance troupes perform in venues all over the city and street food and nightlife are ramped up as visitors pack the city.
Tokushima is the capital city of Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku island in Japan. The Japanese castle town is situated in the north-eastern part of Tokushima Prefecture at the mouth of the Yoshino River.
Japan is not a difficult place in which to travel, especially independently. Before the festival begins there are travel agencies that offer day tour bus services only for this festival from Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Okayama and other major regional centres. The bus tour is very economical and there can be a wait for trains during this time.
There are local and limited express trains to reach to Tokushima Station. Arrival from Tokyo is easier by air, with local services to Tokushima daily from major cities.
Ocean East operates a ferry service between Tokyo, Tokushima and Kitakyushu. Both the Tokyo and Kitakyushu runs are overnight and passengers can book Western-style bedrooms with bunks.
The city center is small enough to cover on foot, but bikes can be rented next to JR Tokushima Station.
Japan has lots of accomodation styles on offer from 5-star boutique hotels, to budget hotels and hostels.
Three-star Toyoko Inn Tokushima Ekimae hotel is steps from Bizan Park and German House. Shinmachigawa Mizugiwa Park and Tokushima Castle Museum are also within 10 minutes. The hotel offers elf parking, laundry facilities, and free newspapers. WiFi in public areas is free. Other amenities include free breakfast, conveniences like refrigerators and electric kettles and TV in the rooms.
The Tokushima Station Hotel is 3-minute walk from the station. The low key hotel’s understated rooms with simple, warm decor offer flat-screen TVs, minifridges and tea making facilities. Some include tatami floors, futons and traditional short-legged tables. Complimentary amenities include loaner bikes and 24-hour guest laundry facilities.
There are many mountains, river, the ocean, and parks to enjoy in the city and well as cultural museums and Japanese arts and crafts to learn.
Visit the Heike Clan Traditional House where toward the end of the 12th century, Horikawa Naiki from the Heike Clan now out of power lived in hiding in this Iya residence. Hundreds of original treasures and documents are on display that tell the history of the time.
Enjoy the Sea Turtle Museum, “Caretta”. Each year between May and late August, loggerhead sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs at Ohama beach on the southern coast of Tokushima and this museum presents all kinds of information about these sea turtles.
The dates for the Festival are 12-15 August 2019.
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