Awa Odori


Awa Odori Dance Contest

Sunday, June 30th @ 2:00pm
Japan Fair Main Stage at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue

Dance to the Beat of Tokushima!

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Awa Odori is the largest dance festival in Japan, and it's coming to Japan Fair! Create a ren (team) with your friends and family and join the Awa Odori Dance Contest. Beginners are more than welcome! Awa Odori can be very versatile, so be original and express your inner self. Each team will be judged by Awa Odori's legendary figure, Hideaki Oka, and the best ren will win 10 Mariner's Suite Tickets! Don't be a fool by just watching. Dance!


  • Be original and show off your unique dance and costume
  • 8 or more people per Ren (team)
  • Dance Time: 2-3 minutes
    • Each ren will be in a 2 x 4 person formation
    • The rens will form a parade style line and cross the stage
  • The music used will be sent to participants
  • Dance to the Prize! Mariner's Suite (Box Seat) Tickets
    • 10 tickets for 10 people
    • The game is on Friday, August 23rd at 7:10pm against the Toronto Blue Jays
      • The date and game cannot be changed.


Hideaki Oka -Awa Odori Dance Contest Judge

Entering the Gojyahei Ren at the age of 19, Oka has devoted his life to Awa Odori since. At 39, he became the head of the Gojyahei Ren and has put strength into spreading the "Gojyahei Style". He has performed his Awa Odori at the former Emperor's 80th birthday, and has also been awarded by Tokushima Prefecture in 2013. Currently, he his not only spreading Awa Odori across Japan, but is even spreading it around the world.





Sign Your Ren (Team) Up



What is Awa Odori?

Awa Odori is a traditional Japanese dance that started in 1586 in Tokushima Prefecture, and is a derivative of Bon Odori. Tokushima's Awa Odori Dance Festival is the largest dance festival in Japan, attracting over 1.3 million people every year. 


Awa Odori festivals are hosted all around Japan, with Tokushima, Tokyo, and Saitama's Awa Odori being the "Big Three Awa Odori Festivals of Japan". In recent years, Awa Odori festivals have even been held in Paris and Bangkok. Selected rens from Tokushima travel all the way to each of these places to teach the local people how to dance Awa Odori.


Awa Odori is also considered as one of the "Big Three Bon Festivals of Japan". 


With over 400 years of history, Tokushima Prefecture teaches Awa Odori to other prefectures. Starting with 60 years of dancing by "Tokyo Koenji Awa Odori", Shimokitazawa has more than 50 years of Awa Odori dancing experience, along with many other cities and areas with 30 to 40 years of experience under their belt.


Awa Odori consists of a "Male Dance" and a "Female Dance". The men dance dynamically wearing a happi coat and tabi. Usually, men will dance without anything in their hands, but sometimes dance while holding fans or lanterns. Women dance elegantly wearing a yukata and a woven bamboo hat. They move forward by sliding their feet.


Music plays an important role in Awa Odori dancing. The music usually consists of 6 different instruments. The gong and taiko drums act as the backbone of the rhythm.


The famous lyrics of Awa Odori go as follows:


踊る阿呆に (Odoru ahou ni)
The dancers are fools

見る阿呆 (Miru ahou)
The watchers are fools

同じ阿呆なら (Onaji ahou nara)
Both are fools alike so

踊らな損、損 (Odorana son, son)
Why not dance?


So why aren't you dancing?