One of Japan's grandest festivals, the Tokushima Awa Odori is a summer dance performed in central Tokushima city. Numerous dance troupes called "ren" appear in a long parade along the city's main streets for four evenings in mid-Aug. About 2 million people see it during the four days it is held. It is like a bon dance to greet the souls of the deceased returning to visit. These photos were taken in Aug. 1999. There are other Awa Odori festivals in Japan, but the one in Tokushima is the original and largest one. "Awa" is the former feudal name of Tokushima.
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