Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Tokyo Koenji Awaodori Dance Festival

The Tokyo Koenji Awaodori Dance Festival is held annually on the last Saturday and Sunday of August and is one of the three largest festivals held in Tokyo each summer.  This year marks the 52nd year of the festival and events are scheduled for on Saturday, August 23rd and Sunday, August 24th from 6-9PM. So what is the Awaodori?  The Awaodori is a dance that originated on Shikoku Island in southern Japan’s Tokushima prefecture over 400 hundred years ago.  Some say that it started as a dance of celebration performed upon the completion of the the Tokushima Castle in 1587 while the more common belief is that the Awaodori originates from Obon dances, performed by Buddhist’s in July and August to honor the spirits of the dead and ensure their safe journey and happiness in the ‘other world’.

Today the town of 44,000 is transformed during the Koenji Awaodori Festival when around 1.2 million people converge on a two square kilometer area to watch as over 188 groups, comprising 12,000 dancers, parade through the streets of Koenji in the evening. (Koenji Awaodori Festival venue map)

The festival in centered around Koenji Station which is located on the JR Chou line about 20 minutes from Tokyo Station.  Alternatively take the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line to Shin Koenji Station and wander towards Koenji Station.

Photo Credit: Flickr, Awa Odori 2005