The Hinokuni Matsuri is the summer festival of Kumamoto center city goers. Starting with an opening event on the first day, the shopping arcades of central Kumamoto are lined with events and food booths for men and women of all ages to enjoy for two packed days of fun. On the second day, you can take part in the main event free-for-all Otemoyan Dance. Otemoyan is a famous Kumamoto folk song made roughly 80 years ago, and is still loved and remixed to this day (even the song heard when approaching the Kumamoto station on Kyushu’s Shinkansen line is the Otemoyan). At the main dance on the last day of the festival, they turn one part of the street car line into a “walkers heaven”, allowing space for people of the city to gather in the streets and dance Otemoyan (there is even a Samba version), with the mighty Kumamoto Castle watching over.
Roughly 5,000 dancers participate in the Otemoyan So Odori, or Otemoyan, every year. Showing off their dance moves in original costumes, the dancers excite the festival together with the viewers. The dance is held from 19:00 to 20:30, and there is room for the first 100 people who sign up early on the day of, to join in on the parade fun after taking a brief lesson from instructors. Information on the time and place for sign up and lessons will be announced at a later date. If you participate in dancing, you will also receive an original hand-towel and/or hand fan.
Get some chills in the hot summer. Directly before and after the Hinokuni Matsuri, you can take a walk through the haunted house for kids. Though it is intended for children, it is full of elaborate content and is praised by all every year. It is held in the Art Loft of Kumamoto City’s Contemporary Art Museum and is free to enter. *Prior reservations are necessary in some cases.
You are free to enter in any dance costume you wish, and the use of props or decorations such as mikoshi, balloons and banners is welcomed, however, since the course follows the street car route with live electric wires on overpasses in some locations, anything tall enough (approx. 5m) to cause possible danger of electrification is prohibited.
When entering with original choreography, please refrain from making routines that include stopping or backing up, as it disrupts the advancement of the parade.
Drinking alcohol and smoking is prohibited on dance venue grounds.
The use of drones on venue grounds is prohibited.
Access to Kumamoto City
JR Kumamoto Station
Address: 1-1Tetorihoncho, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture (City Hall)
When coming by inner city train from the JR Kumamoto Station, please get off at Kumamoto Jo/Shiyakusho Mae Station.
When coming by bus, please get off at Shiyakusho Mae