Tokyobling's Blog

Kitamachi Awaodori – Shinoburen

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on July 30, 2014

Last Saturday saw the one day only, once a year Kitamachi Awaodori Festival in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, just next to Tobu-Nerima Station. Kitamachi is the original heart of the modern day Nerima Ward and it was one of the biggest way stations on the Edo period highway between Edo (ancient Tokyo) and Kawagoe to the north in Saitama prefecture. At these way stations transports of goods, people and information was made easier by the reserves of men and horses standing by and the way station in Kitamachi was famous for being able to provide a full compliment of horses unlike other way stations that often had to call for help from neighboring villages when large groups or big transports came through. This pride in their horses and the local people’s skill in taming them became the base for the modern name of the ward, Nerima (練馬).

The old highway is perfectly suitable for festivals and parades like the Awaodori summer festivals being organized every year around Tokyo. I saw many teams, some new, some familiar, some famous and some peculiar ones. One of the most famous must be the Shinoburen who did a great performance despite the weather. The end of July is usually one of the hottest periods of the year in Tokyo and temperatures stay in the mid thirties well in to the night making the three hours of dancing extremely hard on the performers. I have even seen members of the audience drop down from the heat and all they did was sitting down and enjoying the show! Despite Kitamachi being one of the physically most demanding Awaodori festivals in Tokyo it remains popular with especially the locals.
















4 Responses

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  1. girlwilltravel said, on July 30, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Love the photos! This looks amazing! I simply must make it back to Japan soon!!


    • tokyobling said, on July 31, 2014 at 3:09 am

      Glad you like them! Thank you for the kind comment. I hope you can make it back here soon! (^-^)/


  2. Junko said, on July 30, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    It’s hard to believe it’s so hot as the dancers look all so cool. The girl in the last photo looks like she’s concentrating super hard. You can see her 気合い in her hand!


    • tokyobling said, on July 31, 2014 at 3:10 am

      Isn’t it? But I am pretty sure each one of them was pretty close to the edge at the end of this festival. The weather was just brutal! The girl is great, there were not too many kids able to make it that evening, so she must have been one of the stronger ones!


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