Sunday’s Awaodori festival in Setagaya Ward’s Shimokitazawa was just as amazing as usual. The whole night and day before the festival saw strong winds and rain which lasted until 5 minutes before the festival was due to start, when the rain and clouds disappeared in perfect meteorological timing. As the festival kicked off the streets were nearly empty but people soon returned and by the end it was almost as crowded as usual.
I saw one of my favorite teams, the ever fantastic Yattokoren (やっとこ連) in their cool looking green-orange-white uniforms. I have blogged about them earlier here and here. If you missed this festival you have your big chance at the end of this month, the grand Koenji Awaodori Festival, the biggest Awaodori festival outside of Tokushima and one of the biggest festivals in Tokyo period.
Awaodori festival season has started and one of the bigger festivals of the summer is the Shimokitzawa Awaodori festival. It’s a two day event, on the 9th and 10th of August, from 18:30 to 20:30. The narrow streets of Shimokitazawa makes for a very intimate and friendly festival where the audience is very close to the dancers. The drummers especially can be dangerous so it is usually best to stand back a little.
I saw the Yattokoren at last year’s festival, one of the local Shimokitazawa teams. The shotengai, or shopping street, where the festival takes place is called Ichibangai which has been place of commerce since the 1920s and really grew big after the second world war as most if survived the bombings and many merchants from other areas flocked to Shimokitazawa. The Awaodori festival was started in 1966 and this year’s festival will be the 49th.
Shimokitazawa is a great place to hang out and there’s plenty of shops and unique little restaurants and alleys to explore, so if you have time in August this year, make sure to visit!
The festival has an English homepage here.
As a huge fan of Awaodori, I have a long list of favorite teams, and one of them is the Yattokoren, from Tokyo’s hip Shimokitazawa district. Yattokoren was on the first teams I followed actively and it is great fun to catch them a few times every year to check on their progress and the old and new members. They are overall a very good group with good dancers of all ages, but when I saw them last Saturday at the Kawasaki Awaodori Festival down in Kanagawa Prefecture I was truck by the exceedingly cool looking female drummer in the 11th photo, she spent most of the performance looking so utterly cool about herself I just had to get her picture! Yattokoren also has some very cool male drummers, cute kids and fantastic smiles. I just love this team! Sorry for the amount of photos in this post, 17 in all, I just had to include them all!