Event of the Year: 59th Koenji Awa-odori

Perhaps the most important festival in the country — nay the world — is upon us. The Koenji Awa-odori Festival is in full-swing. After a misty but more or less rain-free day yesterday, the festival continues today with the ren (dance groups) doing their thing from 5pm-8pm.

The Koenji Awa-odori has grown to be counted as a major summer event of Tokyo. If Tokyo festivals were golf tournaments, Koenji would be considered a Major — up there with Sanja Matsuri and the Sumida River Fireworks.

Migrants from Tokushima (home to Japan’s largest Awa-odori) inaugurated the Koenji version in 1956. Since then it has grown to become the nation’s second largest, with an average of 188 ren (dance groups) composed of 12,000 dancers, attracting 1.2 million visitors over the course of the weekend.

This year’s theme is “Spreading Smiles” in the hope to invigorate and brighten up the people, and the whole area, of Koenji. Spreading happiness is always a brilliant idea. Granted, during my 8 years in Koenji I’ve never known Awa-odori not to be filled with smiles. Even when it’s raining.

Awa-odori 2009
Koenji Awa-odori 2009
Event info
Koenji Awa-odori Festival
Locations: Koenji Dori, Look & PAL Shotengai, JR Koenji Station
Date: August 29-30th, 2015
Start/End Time: 17:00 – 20:00
Official Site: http://www.koenji-awaodori.com
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