Over 20,000 dancers stretched over hundreds of meters parade through the city streets cheerfully. Ohara Festival is Southern Kyushu's largest festival where anyone is allowed to join in. It is truly incredible to see 20,000 fill up the streets during "So-odori," all dancing together to Kagoshima's traditional folk songs such as the "Ohara-bushi," "Kagoshima Hanya-bushi" and "Shibuya-ondo." The festival which began in 1949 continued its development through local efforts to restore the town after the devastation of WWII. Today, all types of groups from local businesses to schools come together in order to bring the festival to life. Everybody attends, from adults to children, including a recent increase in overseas visitors as well. The dance and festive attire unique to each of the participating groups is also something to keep an eye out for.
Other than the main parade, the festival features the lively "Ohara 21" dance, marching bands and performances of traditional performance arts. Stage events are held at a booth called the "YOU-yu Hiroba" with themes of parent-child interaction and playfulness.
Depending on the group of dancers, you are allowed to jump right in to participate. To enjoy dancing together with any of the groups, practice and memorize the moves of "Ohara-bushi," "Kagoshima Hanya-bushi" and "Shibuya-ondo" beforehand. Click on the link below to watch the videos.
Before the "So-odori" dance parade, performances of "Ogojo-daiko" drums are showcased. "Ogojo" means "young woman" in the Kagoshima region's local dialect. As the name itself suggests, it is a drum performance played exclusively by women. The sight of performers swaying their bundled hair, playing the drums as if they are dancing to it themselves, reveals an elegance within the vigor and intensity of the music. Your heart will be dancing along to their rhythmic drum beats!
Access to Kumamoto City
Kagoshima-Chuo Station on the JR Kagoshima Main Line
[Nearest Bus Stop]
Takamibaba bus stop
Higashisengoku-cho, Kagoshima City in addition to the entire area of Tenmonkan and Densha-dori (downtown Kagoshima City)
15 min walk from Kagoshima-Chuo Station