Tokushima Prefecture is famous for its “Awa Odori” festival, which boasts a history of more than 400 years. Tokushima’s Awa Odori festival, held every year during the Obon season from August 12 to 15, is so popular that it attracts tourists from all over the world. “Awa” means the previous name of Tokushima and “Odori” means “dance”. As one of Japanese traditional performing arts, it is loved by people in Japan and abroad. Together with “Gujo Odori” in Gunma Prefecture and “Nishimonai Bon Odori” in Akita Prefecture, it is considered one of the three major dance in Japan.
What is the origin of Awa Odori?
・Theory of origin of castle construction: Mr. Hachisuka Iemasa built Tokushima Castle (Tensho 15 (1587)), and the people began dancing at the celebration of its completion.
・Theory of the origin of Fu-ryu dance: Kumiodori, a characteristic of Awa Odori, was influenced by “Fu-ryu,” which is said to be the origin of Noh play.
・Bon Odori origin theory: Bon Odori, an event for ancestor memorial services, was the origin of Bon Odori. The above three prevailing theories exist.
Awa Odori spreading throughout Japan
In addition to the original Tokushima’s Awa Odori, there are also Tokyo Koenji’s Awa Odori (Suginami-ku, Tokyo), Minami-Koshigaya’s Awa Odori (Koshigaya City, Saitama), and Mobara’s Awa Odori (Mobara City, Chiba), to name just a few examples of Awa Odori events held throughout Japan.
We encourage you to visit Tokushima during the Awa Odori season.
Click here to read an article introducing Atsuhiro Inukai, an actor from Tokushima Prefecture.