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Shinjuku Eisa Festival

By Vivian Morelli

This colourful festival has all kinds of flavours from Okinawa – with dancing, drumming, and of course, food.

In Japan, summer is synonymous with festivals, and although they tend to all look the same after you’ve attended a few, we’d say this particular one is worth checking out. Like everything relating to Okinawa, expect high-energy dance performances, enthusiastic parades and pops of colour all over. Eisa is a form of folk dance from the southern islands, and is usually performed by young men and women accompanied by singing, dancing and drumming, and even folk songs played on the sanshin. Eisa was traditionally performed around obon to honour ancestor’s spirits, but these days it’s just another excuse to celebrate.

The parade will feature dancers swaying across the Shinjuku roads wearing eye-catching, bright costumes, and playing portable taiko drums. The matsuri is expecting 24 dance troupes from all over the country (Okinawa and Tohoku included) to take part in this noisy, intoxicating celebration. Thousands are people should be in attendance as it’s one of the summer’s most popular events, so get there early to snag a prime spot to view the procession (and crowd-watch, which is always interesting in Shinjuku), that will continue on well after sunset.

Shinjuku Eisa Festival

When: July 27, 13:00-20:00

Where: Around Shinjuku

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Main image: danirubioperez on Flickr