Translated by Verity Lane
Enjoy The Fukagawa Odori Japanese Dance School's Hanami Event!
This article features a cherry blossom viewing event held by the Fukagawa Odori Traditional Dance School. You can enjoy watching and taking part in traditional dance demonstrations. All the performers wear beautiful kimonos, making this event a gorgeous s
Written by Keisuke Yamada
The kimono is Japan's traditional dress. With its flamboyant and intricate designs, this unique attire is known all around the world. There are cultural events where you can both admire and wear a kimono. These events are demonstrations of Japanese traditional dance and folk dance.
These traditional dance performances give the viewers the occasion to see the graceful movements of the performers, as well as admire the beauty of their garments.
The traditional dance has co-existed historically and developed along with Kabuki (a traditional type of Japanese theatre), originating in the culture of Edo Period (1603-1868). The Folk dance culture is longer than other traditional dance practices. It uses amusing folk songs such as fishermen's drinking songs, and work songs that contain prayers for rain and a good harvest.
This article features a traditional Japanese dance school, where you can learn about the history of these two dance forms at your leisure. The school is called Shin Nihon Buyō Kyōshitsu Fukagawa Odori (The New Japanese Traditional Dance "Fukagawa Odori" School), and it teaches Japanese dance classes in its branches in Monzennakachō and Kōenji (Tokyo).
Let's Take Part in the Fukagawa Odori Japanese Dance Event!
With the main bulk of the clientèle made up of women in their twenties and thirties, the Fukagawa Odori Dance School is like a huge women-only meetup, where they actively enjoy dance.
This time we went to a cherry blossom viewing event curated by Fukagawa Odori Dance School. It has become customary to hold this yearly event in Tokyo's Ueno Park, as soon as the sakura come into full-bloom.
The place is extremely lively, and it is full of people enjoying hanami during the afternoon. This is where the event takes place.
First, the dancers greet the members of the audience. The dance begins soon after we have raised our glasses for a toast!
While holding sakura (cherry blossoms) and fans, we are treated to a delightful display of traditional Japanese dances. Passers-by are brought to a complete standstill - it is not uncommon to see them taking pictures of the dancers.
The audience members revel in watching this superb dance display; while eating delicious food and drinking, they are completely elevated by the experience.
After the dancers performed a small selection of songs, we were treated to a faultless performance of the "Dance of the Fox" - a dance originating in the Edo Period Yoshiwara area in Tokyo.
The "Dance of the Fox" is centered on the scene of a fox chasing girls on December 31st. In old Japan it was believed that if a girl had the unfortunate experience of being embraced by a fox, then she would become pregnant.
The event closes with a dance trial, where everybody - including the audience members - can get involved. An insightful lecture will be held for those who are new to traditional dance.
What is your impression on the Japanese traditional dances featured in this article?
This was a presentation of the hanami event held by Fukagawa Odori Dance School, a perfect chance to learn about traditional Japanese dance and kimonos.
You can just visit, or take a one-off dance trail - the choice is yours! There are facilities in the area to cater for non-Japanese guests, or those who are not proficient in the local language.
If you would like to find out more details, please check out the Fukagawa Odori School homepage (Japanese).
How about using this as an incentive to experience the beauty of Japanese culture?
Shin Nihon Buyō Kyōshitsu Fukagawa Odori, Monzennakachō/Kōenji (Tokyo)
Address: Tokyo, Kōtō-ku Tomioka 1-16-12, Kōtō City Hall Tomioka Branch 2F (the Traditional Japanese-style room)
Nearest Station: A 2 minute walk from Monzennakachō Station, Exit 1 (Tokyo Metro Tōzai Line)
A 6 minute walk from Exit 6, Monzennakachō Station (Toei Subway Ōedo Line)
Homepage: Fukagawa Odori Dance School (Japanese)