Sansa Odori Festival

A traditional dance known as Sansa Odori is the highlight of Iwate’s largest festival, the Morioka Sansa Odori Festival. This festival takes place annually from August 1 to August 4 and is considered one of the five great festivals of the Tohoku region. The festival showcases a grand parade where large groups of people dance in sync with taiko drummers, flute players, and chanting participants.

The Sansa Odori Festival holds the distinction of featuring the largest taiko drumming performance in the world, as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. This impressive display of rhythmic drumming adds to the vibrant and energetic atmosphere of the festival.

To attend the festival, visitors can easily access it from Morioka Station, the city’s transportation hub. From the station, they can cross the Kaiun Bridge and walk east towards the city center for about two blocks. The parade route is located on a four-lane street one block north of the main street in the city center.

One of the unique aspects of the Sansa Odori Festival is the active participation of the audience. During the final half hour of the first three nights and the last hour of the final night, parade-goers are invited to join in the dancing. Instead of marching, participants dance in circles around floats that carry featured performers. This inclusive approach allows everyone to experience the joy and excitement of the festival firsthand.

To ensure a seamless and synchronized performance, Sansa groups start practicing once or twice a week, sometimes as early as three months before the festival. This dedication to practice ensures that the dancers are well-prepared and able to showcase their skills during the festival. The event also attracts active participation from non-Japanese residents living in the area through the Iwate International Association and the local chapter of JC International.

As the festival takes place in mid-summer, it is essential for participants to stay hydrated and replenish their electrolytes. Despite Iwate’s reputation as Snow Country, temperatures during the festival can reach 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. Therefore, it is recommended to drink plenty of water and electrolyte-replenishing drinks to prevent dehydration.

If residents wish to join a Sansa group, they will need to adhere to the dress code. The dress code requires a yukata robe, with the cheaper jinbei not being allowed. Additionally, white tabi socks and approved zori sandals are required. It may be necessary to rent a taiko, a traditional Japanese drum, to fully participate in the festival. It is important to check the official website for the latest information regarding the dress code and other festival details.

In conclusion, the Morioka Sansa Odori Festival is a vibrant and culturally significant event in Iwate Prefecture. The grand parade, featuring synchronized dancing, taiko drumming, flute playing, and chanting, attracts both locals and visitors alike. The festival’s inclusivity allows audience members to actively participate in the dancing, creating a sense of unity and celebration. To fully enjoy the festival, it is important to stay hydrated, dress appropriately, and immerse oneself in the lively atmosphere. The Morioka Sansa Odori Festival truly showcases the rich cultural heritage and community spirit of Iwate Prefecture.

Address And Maps Location:

Chuodori, Morioka-shi, Iwate-ken

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