The Yosakoi Festival began in the city of Kōchi, Japan, in 1954. The first “Yosakoi Style” festival featured 21 teams and 750 participants. The style of festival has become extraordinarily popular throughout Japan, with versions popping up in nearly every city. The festival involves teams of dancers and floats (called “jikatasaya“), who dance the “yosakoi naruko” dance, competitively.
A Yosakoi style festival and competition requires that:
From humble origins in Kochi, the festival has grown to involve thousands and thousands of people throughout Japan. The Yosakoi Festival in Harajyuku Omotesando alone drew 96 teams and 5,331 people in 2013, who performed their dances to an audience of over eight hundreds thousand people.
The juxtaposition of taking this traditional, very local dance into the very heart of Japan’s pop culture mecca, Harajuku is incredibly interesting, and visually stimulating to say the least. In addition to the competition, you will find the usual assortment of festival food and drink, amid the electrifying atmosphere of the throng.
This video features the highlight of the festival, the “nagashi-odori dance parade.”
The festival itself takes place over two days, but the dancing portion takes place only for one afternoon, as they must block traffic to do it.