All About Japan

Nishimonai Bon Odori

| Summer Festivals , Akita

The town of Ugo (羽後町・Ugo-machi) is located in Akita Prefecture. This northern town is home to one of Japan's Three Great Bon Odori dances, the Nishimonai Bon Odori.

Recognized as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property, the dance pays respect to one's deceased ancestors. It traces its origins back more than 700 years to a harvest festival initiated around the late 1280s, and now takes place from August 16 to 18 every year, with the 18th being the big finale.

Anydoko traveled from Tokyo to Ugo, got dressed in traditional kimono and learned the steps for this historic dance. While the dance may happen in the summer, preparation is already going on in the chill of the northern winter!