Yosakoi festival-one of the most popular festivals in Japan

If you are interested in Japanese Festivals, Yosakoi Matsuri (Yosakoi Festival) is one of the festivals you should see in Japan!It is held from August 9 to 12 in Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture .
高知よさこい祭り2005
photo by[工房 やまもも]
I’ll introduce some details.This festival started in 1954 to liven up the depressed town after war.

The rules of Yosakoi
Dance: Going forward dance with naruko in their hands.
(Naruko is a tool for driving birds away originally and it sounds like castanets.)
Music: Phrases of dancing music ‘ Yosakoi Naruko’ must be contained somewhere in music. 

That’s all.

Naruko’s traditional color is illustration above, but other color is OK. Various genres of arranged music like rock, samba, reggae is OK. There is no special rules of dancers’ costume.
高知よさこい祭り2009
photo by[工房 やまもも]
Each team can express their originality. I think that is one of the reasons Yosakoi is very popular. And after Yosakoi Soran festival is held in Hokkaido, it spread many areas in Japan.

Each dance team is led by a track which is decorated and where they perform music and also sing. A dancing team is made up of several dozens ~ 150 people.

Schedule
August 8th:
Eve of festival (Dance on the stage in Central Park in Kochi City included last year award team)
August 10th, 11th:
Main festival (Dance in many busy streets in Kochi City.)
August 12th:
Post night festival(Dance in several streets in Kochi City included award team this year and the team outside of Kochi Prefecture.)

Each day you can watch dancing but I like August 10th, 11th main festival in Otesuji Street (This street is also famous with Sunday market).

To see this festival
If you need special seats, you can buy tickets from June 30th in convenience store in Japan. But you don’t need them, you can watch dancing for free.

Hotels are very crowded during the festival, you had better make a reservation before half year or more. Sometime you can’t make a reservation even half year before.

It is very hot and a lot of humidity season, you need hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water etc.

Yosakoi is very exciting festival, each team usually practice more than several times (I heard the practice is very hard) and they move perfectly in synchronization.

The total numbers of team about 200 and about 18000 people dance in 16 areas in Kochi City for 4 days.If you have a chance, you should see this energetic festival and dancing.
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