Summer in Tokushima, on the island of Shikoku, is famous for the Awa Odori Matsuri- the Awa Dance Festival. The festival is held over 4 days during Obon (お盆), one of the 3 major holidays in Japan. The Awa Odori attracts over a million visitor and 100,000 dancers. The dancers cry out “It’s a fool who dances and a fool who watches! If both are fools, you might as well have fun dancing!” while dancing to the 400 year old folk dance. We’re here for the final 2 days – we were here 3 years ago for the first 2 days.
The festival takes place throughout the city – the streets are closed and filled with dancers, spectators, and food vendors. There are several grandstand areas, where the dance troupes rotate in. Its hard to get good tickets in the grandstand area. The same troupes also perform on the streets.