Have you heard of the “Yosakoi” festival in Japan?
It first started in Kochi prefecture in 1954 and it is now held all over Japan throughout the. It brings joy to many people throughout many towns and prefectures in Japan.
In this article we will introduce “YOSAKOI” what the “Yosakoi” festival is all about.
What is “Yosakoi”?
In 1954, people who lived in the shopping street of Kochi city started to hold the first of such festivals in order to bring back energy and vitality into the city after the trials of the Second World War. At the first, only the city people participated in the festival, but the festival started to increase in size and the news travelled to people who lived outside of the city who came to enjoy the festival. These days, 190 teams and 20 thousand dancers participate in the festival throughout Japan.
“Yosakoi” has 3 main characteristics
The music always includes the phrase ““Yosakoi” Naruko dance”, which is the local music of Kochi, and dancers must have a “NARUKO(鳴子)”, which is a type of percussion instrument. It is obligatory to dance during “Yosakoi”. Every team has 100 dancing together during NARUKO and it is quite a powerful sound when each team chants in unison.
Every team makes an original costume. There are many kinds of costume types, such as the arranged Japanese traditional kimono, which changes colour during the dance, and many more.
It is a large truck with a colourful design. Singers ride on the truck and perform with large fans and Japanese decorative parasols, leading the dancers.
How to enjoy the “Yosakoi” festival in Kochi
These days, “Yosakoi” festival is held all over Japan, but the original festival is the one held in Kochi city, held from August 9th to 12th every year, so we would highly recommend visiting Kochi to experience the place of its origin. The dancers dance through the shopping streets in the city, allowing you see up close and enjoy the spectacle.
Many kinds of delicious foods and alcohol are sold in nearby stalls, it is recommended that you book a hotel and plane in advance, as travel and accommodation quickly become fully booked during these four days.
You can find more informations about Street Market Food at Japan’s Festivals on this article.
3 “Yosakoi” festival throughout Japan
“Yosakoi”, which was born in Kochi prefecture, has spread throughout Japan, so it is possible to enjoy it in every prefecture during all of Japan’s seasons. You can enjoy it along with the local attractions and each season’s beauty.
Kyoto cherry blossom “Yosakoi” (Kyoto Prefecture)
This is held in the season when cherry blossoms bloom every year. One other main attraction of the festival at this time of the year is that you can see the Yosakoi dance in front of traditional shrines, such as Heian Jingu Shrine (平安院宮).
Kyoto cherry blossom "Yosakoi"
Time: The 1st Saturday and Sunday on April
”Yosakoi”-SORAN festival (Hokkaido Prefecture)
It is held mainly in Odori Park, which is a symbol of Sapporo city. The performance features a big flag on the stage, which is an impressive sight with the abundant and beautiful nature of Hokkaido.
"Yosakoi" -SORAN festival
Time: From the 2nd Wednesday to Sunday on June
Harajuku- Omotesando energy festival Super “Yosakoi” (Tokyo Prefecture)
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It is held around Meiji Jingu, and the main attraction of the festival are the dancers, who dance through Omotesando street, one of the largest and popular streets in Tokyo.
Harajuku- Omotesando energy festival Super "Yosakoi"
Time: The 4th Saturday and Sunday in August
Have you been persuaded to discover the “Yosakoi” festival?
You can experience this festival anywhere in Japan, so let’s go with your camera at the ready!
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