One million dance lovers gather for Tokushima's 'Awa' festival
Japan Today -- Aug 13
Over a million performers and spectators will flock to a western Japanese city this weekend for one of the country's largest dance festivals, after organizers stepped up efforts to accommodate foreign visitors.

The annual "Awa Odori", which originates from a Japanese Buddhist custom of honouring the spirits of ancestors, sees the otherwise sleepy city of Tokushima turn into a stage for four days.

Groups of dancers and musicians, known as ren, parade through the streets to the sound of traditional music instruments such as lutes, drums, flutes and bells.

Sporting kimono-like costumes with hair bands or straw hats, they chant in chorus and dance in synchronised choreography.

The number of participants, including performers, is expected to hit the same number as last year, when 1.2 million took part in the centuries-old carnival.

徳島の夏を彩る「阿波おどり」が12日、徳島市で開幕し、街には「ヤットサー」の掛け声と、太鼓の音が鳴り響いた。15日までの4日間、街は「踊るあほう」の踊り子と「見るあほう」の見物客の熱気で満ちあふれる。
News sources: Japan Today, Kyodo
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