On August 12th and 15th, in Tokushima takes place the Awa Odori festival. “Fool’s Dance” is a nickname that comes from the lyrics to a common dance song, which translates as follows: “Fools dance and fools watch, if both are fools, you might as well dance” whose origins date back 400 years. It is the most famous of many dance festivals held across Japan during the Obon season in mid August. The main spectacle takes place between 18:00 and 22:30, when groups of dancers called “ren” perform in blocked off streets of downtown Tokushima. The groups dance through designated spectator areas (enbujo) in a procession, playing traditional musical instruments as they go. Women wear cotton robes called yukata, while men wear happiĀ (shorter yukata over shorts or pants).

In the evening, Tokushima’s city center shuts down and is turned into a large dance stage. There are seven different stage areas with either free or paid seating. The paid stages are sure to draw the professional groups, while the former will have more casual dancers as well. Typical festival flourish, such as food and game stalls, as well as more dancing, takes place outside of the stage areas.You can but tickets for the four reserved stage areas in advance or on the day. The tickets range between 800 and 2100 yen for a two hour block of performances (firstĀ block from 18:00 to 20:00 or second block from 20:30 to 22:30).You can buy at convenience stores nationwide or on site.

There is also a museum about the Awa Odori is located in the Awa Odori Kaikan. There you will also find a dance hall where dance demonstrations are held several times a day.