Kick off the Japanese summer season with one of the most interesting dance festivals in Japan: the Sapporo Yosakoi Soran Festival! Dances are a modern adaptation of the traditional Awa Odori and the moves mimic fishermen hauling their catch. How awesome is that!
There are countless Awa Odori dance festivals in Japan, but none of them is similar to the Yosakoi Soran Festival of Sapporo. Indeed, although the costumes may look the same, the energy and the type of dance performances are quite unique. The festival comes from a fusion of two things: "yosakoi" and "soran".
Yosakoi is a type of Japanese dance is inspired by the traditional Awa Odori dance but has been modernized to be more dynamic. It can be performed to the melody and beats of contemporary music. The music played during the performances creates a lively summer vibe. You'll hear drums and plenty of naruko clappers.
dancers performing with naruko clappers
As for the "soran" part, it is an ancient type of song and dance that is thought to have been invented by the fishermen of the north. The movements mimic fishermen hauling fish and pulling ropes! In spite of how ungraceful such a dance sounds, it actually is! Everyone's welcome to join the dance! Another point of interest at this festival is the make-up performers have.
Odori Park is where it's at!
In the middle of Sapporo City, there is the beautiful stretch of public greenery called Odori Park (Odori Koen, 大踊公園) that is the venue of the festival. The Sapporo Snow Festival is held at the exact same place. So just head there and follow the music and cheers. They'll be plenty of festival stalls for you to grab a bite and some drinks.
When is it held?
The 2019 edition will be held from the 6th to the 10th of June. On weekdays, celebrations start later in the day, and on the days that fall on the weekend activities are held all day.
What else is there to do in Sapporo?
Plenty! But above all, Hokkaido is synonymous with delicious foods! While you're there, make sure to eat the local specialties. Two must-try things in Sapporo are the crabs and a type of Japanese-style BBQ called Jingisukan (Genghis Khan).