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Tuesday, 14th August 2012
In Events In Japan,

Toyama festival set for September celebration

A 300-year-old festival is set to be celebrated once again in the city of Toyama, which is the main hub of the 50km prefecture.

Owara Kaze-no-Bon Festival will take place for three days from September 1st to commemorate rich harvests and fend off typhoons than can strike farmers' crops.

This traditional folk event has been rising in popularity in recent years and now attracts an estimated quarter of a million visitors from Japan and abroad.

It is no wonder they are drawn to the fascinating event, with men and women lining up for a stretch of 3km to indulge in a ritual dance. 

The start date of the festival is no accident either, as it marks the 210th day from the first day of spring, in correspondence with the Japanese calendar.

The historic folkdance has been handed down from generation to generation in the town of Yatsuo, where the main event takes place.

Performers take the spotlight to dance in one of two styles, either the Shin odori, which was newly choreographed in the 1920s, or the traditional Ecchu Owarabushi dance.

Once again, the new dance is divided in two for male and female performers to pay tribute to bountiful harvests.

Men are expected to carry out the Otoko odori, which reflects the traditions of farming, while women perform the elegant Onna odori - a classic national dance.

This festival certainly serves up something quintessentially Japanese for the enthusiastic tourist and is bound to impress with its lavish costumes and all-round wonderful atmosphere.

Expect to see women dressed in a uniform kimono accessorised with black sashes and straw hats, while men will don short jackets and amigasa hats.

Some 11 Owara districts take part in the event, dancing on each designated stage as they make their way around the extensive performance area.

There are plenty of wonderful scenes to be enjoyed in the beautiful Toyama prefecture, including the stunning 300m-high Tateyama Mountains.

Posted by Susan Ballion