You can watch and learn Awa Odori, a dance that attracts 1.2 million people, whenever you like!
"Awa Odori" is one of the three most popular Bon dances in Japan. During four days from August 12th to the 15th every year, the dance features about 100 thousand dancers and attracts an audience of 1.2 million. The roots of this dance go back to about 400 years from now. The dance always reflects the times and is still loved by the people of Tokushima.
At the Awa Odori Festival Hall (Awa Odori Kaikan), you can enjoy watching the dance and learning Awa Odori's history any time of the year.
Watch Awa Odori at the four daytime performances by the Festival Hall’s exclusive “Ren (Awa Odori group)!”
At the hall on the second floor, daytime performances feature Awa Odori by the Festival Hall's exclusive Ren (Awa Odori group). There are four performances a day. The hall has stadium seating, so it is easy to see the stage from any seat. The front screen displays multilingual explanations (English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Korean), so if you need this, make sure you sit in a seat that lines you up with the screen.
Receive lectures while you watch Awa Odori
The dancers appear on stage dancing Awa Odori along to the unique rhythm of "Zomeki Bayashi" music! After you watch the Awa Odori, you are given a lecture about the Awa Odori experience. In this experience, you can learn the history of Awa Odori comparing the dance of 150 years ago, after the war, and today. First, the musical instruments that play the two-beat rhythm of Awa Odori, such as the shamisen, Shinobue flute, and gong, are introduced. You will listen to the actual sounds as you learn about the instruments.
Don't just watch! Try dancing the Awa Odori
After you are introduced to Awa Odori, it's your turn to dance. The dancers will show you an example on the stage to first practice the hand movements while seated, and then the foot movements while standing where you are. As they say, "raise your hands, move your feet, and you are dancing Awa Odori," your hand and feet movements are significant. When moving your hands, think dynamic and bold for men, smooth and beautiful for women. In the end, you will dance while moving sideways and shouting "Yattosa." Experiencing Awa Odori makes you want to join the actual performance in August.
Watch the transition of the Awa Odori dance and the current dance
The dancers will first show you the gentle dance of the Tokushima folk song "Yatte Sansa" danced about 150 years ago, which is believed to be Awa Odori's roots. Next, you will see the free form dance from 1945 after the war, and finally, the refined current Awa Odori. You will also have a chance to learn about the different "kata (forms)" of dance, such as the "male dance" and "female dance. "The performance ends with an original Awa Odori by the exclusive Ren (dance group). You will be impressed by the stunning performance that incorporates various "kata (forms)"!
Understand Awa Odori more deeply at the museum
The museum on the third floor introduces Awa Odori's history from its origins to the Edo period and up to the present day through various exhibits. It is an excellent place to visit before or after a performance. Visitors can learn more about Awa Odori from the unique costumes, old musical instruments, and miniature models of Awa Odori dance performances from different eras. If you scan the museum's QR codes, you can read explanations about the exhibits in English, Traditional or Simplified Chinese, and Korean.