Best time to go to Tokyo

Koenji Awa Odori & Harajuku Super Yosakoi 2021

Huge dancing festivals, full of positive energy

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Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below).

The entire neighborhood breaks into dance during the two days of this festival. Some 10,000 dancers and more than a million visitors, make Awa-Odori one of the biggest street parties in the capital.

Awa-Odori originates from Tokushima on Shikoku island. According to a legend, the dance was supposedly spontaneously created by the townspeople and has been filling people with happy energy. The "male dance" requires that you bent at the waist and keep low to the ground. The "female dance" is done on raised geta sandals. You need to raise your hands and lead with the same hand and foot as you move. Koenji Awa-Odori was held for the first time in 1957 and over the years the festival has grown a lot, becoming one of the main events of the summer.

The modern take on traditional Awa-Odori dancing is in full display at Tokyo's most hip neighbourhoods of Harajuku and Omotesando. Over two days about 100 regional teams compete in dancing all day long. The biggest of the five stages of the festival is set up in Yoyogi Park. The four other stages are located in Harajuku, along Omotesando Avenue, in Meiji-jingu’s Bunkakan parking lot, and the street in front of NHK building near JR Harajuku Omotesando exit.

Both festivals are held during the last weekend of August.

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