Introducing the Highlights of the 2016 Ohara Festival! Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture

  • Location: Higashisengokucho, Tenmonkan, and the tram street area, Kagoshima City
  • Dates: Annually on November 2nd and 3rd
  • Access: 8 minutes by Kagoshima City Tram from JR Kagoshima-Chuo Station. Approximately 15 minutes by car from Kagoshima-Kita IC via Route 3 on the Kyushu Expressway. City Tourism Site, Yokatto Kagoshima Navi)

The Ohara Festival is a large-scale festival representing Southern Kyushu, held in Kagoshima City. Nearly 20,000 people participate in dance troupes, performing a variety of dances. The main event is the “Sō Odori” (grand dance), but many other activities are also held.

Originally, festivals and Bon Odori (Bon dance) were very popular in Kagoshima City. However, many festivals were suspended due to the impact of World War II. The Ohara Festival was started by the citizens in 1949 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Kagoshima City. It began four years after the war, alongside the city’s recovery. Initially, a costume parade with cars was held.

The biggest highlight of the Ohara Festival is the “Sō Odori,” a grand dance where participants dance to Kagoshima’s famous folk songs “Ohara Bushi,” “Kagoshima Hanya Bushi,” and “Shibuya Ondo.” In the Sō Odori, over 20,000 dancers perform in unison. Each troupe wears unique costumes and showcases their dances. In addition, there are events such as “Ohara 21,” “Parade Marching & Traditional Performances,” and the “YOU Play Plaza,” which is bustling with many children.

This festival has continuously brought vitality to Kagoshima City, which lost so much during the war, and has supported the city’s recovery. Some troupes are looking for participants, so you are sure to gain energy if you join in. Be sure to visit and take part in the festivities.



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