The Sansa Odori festival has been the main event of the Morioka region since the time is was administered by the Nanbu clan.
A long long time ago, there was an evil demon causing mischief around the Morioka castle town. When prayers to the god of Mitsuishi Shrine were held in hopes of vanquishing the demon, the god answered their prayers and drove it away for good. The villagers were so happy, they danced for days in homage, singing “sansa, sansa,” hence the name of the dance.
The Morioka Sansa Odori has been an organized event since 1978. It is an exciting four-day long festival held along the Chuou-dori street, and is both a spectators and a participators festival. It is praised as the largest drumming parade in the world and has many points of attraction including The Miss Sansa Odori and Chibikko (“little kids”) Sansa, simultaneous “wadaiko” drumming (which gave the city its Guinness title), and the Daiwa-odori where participation is urged and everyone dance together freely. Summers are short in the Tohoku region, so why not join in the fun and help add liveliness to this elaborate festival for a few nights.
With attractions such as elaborately decorated floats, Miss Sansa dances and the accompanying drum teams, Chibikko “little kids” Sansa, traditional Sansa, and chances to participate in all the dancing fun, this festival is full of eye catching performances.
The Miss Sansa Odori that leads the parade as the head “flower”, or eye catcher, is performed by the beautiful and elegant women who endured a two-month long training. Their bright smiles will enchant you even more.
The phrase “Sakkorachoiwayasse” that you’ll hear chanted throughout is repeated loudly in hopes of bringing good fortune to all. Be sure to sing it too!
As the grand finale on the last day of the festival, you will see the Worlds Largest Drumming Parade, a regenerated performance of the the simultaneous wadaiko drumming that made the world record in 2014. It’s simply a huge parade of drummer men and women, young and old, coming together to, well, drum. Not only does the sound of these drums captivate the performers themselves, it grabs at the heart of the viewers, echoing in their core.
Without a doubt, you must experience the pride of Morioka, on the last night of the festival.
On the last day of the festival, after the performance of the worlds largest wadaiko parade, you will be able to join in on the dancing! At various sections of the venue circles are made and the participants get down along side the viewers. You will find lecturers called Sansa Oherense Shisho in yellow sashes here and there who will help guide you along the dance, so there is no need to fret. Beginners’ stage fright is no match for getting in some dance time with the locals. And the most important thing for enjoying a successful dance? Why of course, a smile!
There are plenty of souvenirs for you to take back to loved ones like original hand towels, charms in the shape of Sansa drums, little dolls of the official mascot Sakko-chan, and many more.
As for food, you should try at least, if not all, of the three famous Morioka noodles, Reimen, Jajamen, and Wanko-soba.
Take in Morioka, along with its festival, and create a wonderful summer memory you’ll never forget.
Use of drones is prohibited
Smoking is prohibited on all festival grounds
Please view from the designated areas (Do not disrupt the parade in any way)
Please follow staff instructions
15min walk from JR Tohoku Shinkansen Morioka Station
Nearest Bust Stop
Kencho/Shiyakusho-mae (in front of the Pref. Building/City Hall)