Koenji Awaodori

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Koenji Awaodori

12,000 dancers pile out onto the streets of Koenji over the two days of the annual Awaodori, making it one of the biggest festivals of the year in Tokyo – and one with crowds to match. The awaodori ('awa dance') tradition can be traced back to Tokushima in Shikoku, where the story goes that the local daimyo plied his citizens with alcohol to celebrate the completion of the local castle in 1586, leading to a citywide outbreak of dancing in the streets. Whatever the accuracy of that story, the enthusiasm was contagious, and Koenji has been holding a dance of its own for over half a century. The 55th Koenji Awaodori will be a little different from usual, in that the dancing has been rescheduled to take place during the afternoon rather than evening. Should be a sweaty one, then.