Most viewed - Koenji Awa Odori Dance 高円寺阿波おどり
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These days, they have 10,000 dancers from 70 dance groups and over 1 million spectators. Also see the video at YouTube.255 viewsいろは連
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Koenji Awa Odori, Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連177 views
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Koenji Awa Odori, Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連173 views
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Crowd at JR Koenji Station on Awa Odori night.160 viewsThe Koenji Awa Odori is basically a parade of dancers. Many groups of dancers from various parts of Japan participate in the parade that follows the main shopping streets near Koenji Station on the Japan Railways Chuo Line in Tokyo.
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The troupe can consist of children (as young as age 2 or 3), women, and men.145 viewsThe Awa Odori originated 400 years ago in Tokushima Prefecture (in Shikoku) where it is one of Japan's most famous festivals. Although it is not as large as the one in Tokushima, the Koenji Awa Odori in Tokyo has become a major summer festival in Tokyo.
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Tokyo Aoi-ren 東京葵連130 views
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Koenji has many shopping arcades and side streets teeming with eateries.130 views
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Tokyo Aoi-ren 東京葵連129 views
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The dancers hop on one leg.127 viewsSo what is Tokushima's Awa Odori doing in Koenji, Tokyo? It was first organized by a youth group of Koenji's retail merchants in 1957. They wanted to hold an event to attract more shoppers to the area. Neighboring town Asagaya had already started the Tanabata Festival in 1954. The Tanabata Matsuri, of course, is from up north in Sendai, Miyagi Pref. So the Koenji folks decided to transplant a southern festival to Koenji. That was the Awa Odori.
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After it's over...121 views
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Tokyo Aoi-ren 東京葵連120 views
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JR Koenji Station and Awa Odori sign.120 views
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The Koenji Awa Odori has become a major summer festival in Tokyo. It had a humble beginning in 1957 when it was originally called the Koenji Baka Odori. "Baka" means fool.118 views
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The dancers wear a light kimono and half-moon straw hats.115 views
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天翔連115 views
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The parade route centers on JR Koenji Station. There are wide and narrow portions of the route.113 viewsIf it rains, they may stop the festival early.
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美遊ひよこ連113 views
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天翔連113 views
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Tokyo Aoi-ren 東京葵連113 views
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天翔連111 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連110 views
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Tokyo Aoi-ren 東京葵連106 views
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The dance troupe typically has subgroups of children, women, men, and musicians. Suiko-ren 吹鼓連105 views吹鼓連
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105 views美遊ひよこ連
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Budo-ren 富道連104 views富道連
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Tengu-ren 天狗連104 views
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Tengu-ren 天狗連103 views
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The dance troupes come from in and out of town. A few from Tokushima as well as Kanagawa, Chiba, Shizuoka, and other prefectures. Edokko-ren 江戸っ子連102 views
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Silver-ren 志留波阿連102 views
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美遊ひよこ連101 views
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天翔連101 views
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Other dancers might also wear a simpler outfit of short pants and happi coat. Swinging around a fan is also common.100 views花の木連
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100 views美遊ひよこ連
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Hyottoko-ren ひょっとこ連99 views
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Bikkuri-ren びっくり連98 views
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Silver-ren 志留波阿連98 views
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These pictures show over 40 dance troupes which I photographed in 2004 and 2005. Budo-ren 富道連97 views富道連
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Tatsuno Otoshiko-ren たつのおとし子連97 views
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F.I.A.-ren えふあいえい連96 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連96 views
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One trademark of the dancers is the crescent-shaped straw hats.94 views
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Musicians always bring up the rear of the dance troupe. Taiko drums, flutes, and shamisen. The Awa Odori has a distinct rhythm and beat. It really makes you want to get up and dance.94 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連94 views
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Maicho-ren 舞蝶連94 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連94 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連93 views
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Shamisen player who knows how to smile for my camera. Koganei Sakura-ren 小金井さくら連93 views
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Tokushima and Tokyo have the most number of Awa Odori troupes with 40 to 50 each.92 viewsEdokko-ren 江戸っ子連
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Each dance troupe is called a "ren." This is the Suiko-ren. 吹鼓連92 views
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Kikusui-ren 菊水会菊水連92 views
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The men look more like the "fools."91 views
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The first Koenji Awa Odori in 1957 had only 57 dancers and about 2,000 spectators. Iroha-ren いろは連91 viewsThere are now about 30 to 40 Awa Odori parades held in Tokyo alone, usually in shopping areas. The one in Koenji is the largest in Tokyo.
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Kokesaku-ren 苔作連90 views
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天翔連90 views
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Each dance troupe starts with a lantern bearer showing the name of the troupe.89 viewsThe dance is quite simple. While bobbing up and down, the dancer holds her hands above the head and shakes the fingers. This hand gesture indicates that the person has gone crazy. It is therefore nicknamed the "fool's dance." The dance is held on the last weekend in August.
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Kokesaku-ren 苔作連89 views
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89 viewsEdokko-ren 江戸っ子連
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Maicho-ren 舞蝶連89 views
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Maicho-ren 舞蝶連89 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連89 views
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天翔連89 views
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It is most crowded along the large avenues. The crowd is several rows deep. Those in the front are expected to sit down.88 views
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Midori-ren 美踊連88 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連88 views
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The Aoi Shin-ren is from Koenji and one of the largest Awa Odori troupes. They are great performers and one of my favorites.88 views
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Musashi Minami-ren むさし南連87 views
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The dancers also let out a yell as they dance. Hana-no-ki-ren 花の木連86 views
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Maicho-ren 舞蝶連86 views
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Silver-ren 志留波阿連86 views
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84 viewsMidori-ren 美踊連
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きたまちじゃじゃ馬連84 views
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Many of the troupe names have pretty meanings such as Maicho-ren which means "Dancing Butterfly." 舞蝶連84 views
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Also see the video at YouTube.84 views
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Kimagu-ren きまぐ連83 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連83 views
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Taiko drummers jamming. Tensui-ren 天水連83 views
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Asuka-ren 飛鳥連82 views
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Kimagu-ren きまぐ連81 views
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F.I.A.-ren えふあいえい連81 views
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Goraku-ren 伍楽連81 views
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Tatsuno Otoshiko-ren たつのおとし子連80 views
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Suzaku-ren 朱雀連80 views
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Hyottoko-ren ひょっとこ連80 views
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Tengu-ren 天狗連80 views
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Sometimes you see a gaijin participant. F.I.A.-ren えふあいえい連79 views
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Mitaka-ren みたか連79 views
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Midori-ren 美踊連78 views
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Goraku-ren 伍楽連78 views
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Damudan-ren だむだん連78 views
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Hyottoko-ren ひょっとこ連78 views
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Sazanka-ren 杉並区役所さざんか連78 views
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Kikusui-ren 菊水会菊水連77 views
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Damudan-ren だむだん連77 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連77 views
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きたまちじゃじゃ馬連76 views
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Mitaka-ren みたか連75 views
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Musashi Minami-ren むさし南連75 views
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Kikusui-ren 菊水会菊水連74 views
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Sazanka-ren 杉並区役所さざんか連74 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連73 views
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Edo Kabuki-ren 江戸歌舞伎連73 views
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A few troupes are company-sponsored and take on the company's name like this one, a construction company.72 viewsThere is even the Microsoft-ren. (Not pictured here.)
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連72 views
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騒連中72 views
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Suzaku-ren 朱雀連72 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連72 views
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Sharaku-ren 写楽連71 views
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Sharaku-ren 写楽連71 views
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Yurikamome-ren ゆりかもめ連71 views
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Damudan-ren だむだん連71 views
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From the Suginami Ward Office, Sazanka-ren 杉並区役所さざんか連71 views
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Tensui-ren 天水連71 views
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Edo Kabuki-ren 江戸歌舞伎連71 views
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Musashi Minami-ren むさし南連70 views
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Damudan-ren だむだん連70 views
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Koganei Sakura-ren 小金井さくら連70 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連70 views
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Kikusui-ren 菊水会菊水連69 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連69 views
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Ageo Koiki-ren (from Saitama) あげお小粋連69 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連69 views
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Asuka-ren 飛鳥連69 views
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Hanamichi-ren 花道連69 views
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Musashi Minami-ren むさし南連68 views
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騒連中68 views
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成増チルド連68 views
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Sharaku-ren 写楽連67 views
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Edo Kabuki-ren 江戸歌舞伎連67 views
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Mitaka-ren みたか連66 views
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Koganei is a city in Tokyo with a park famous for sakura cherry blossoms. Koganei Sakura-ren 小金井さくら連66 views
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Asuka-ren 飛鳥連66 views
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65 viewsSharaku-ren 写楽連
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Koganei Sakura-ren 小金井さくら連65 views
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Hanamichi-ren 花道連65 views
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粋輦連64 views
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Hanamichi-ren 花道連64 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連64 views
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Sazanka-ren 杉並区役所さざんか連63 views
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62 views
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Hanamichi-ren 花道連61 views
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Hanamichi-ren 花道連59 views
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成増チルド連59 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連55 views
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粋輦連54 views
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