What is the charm of the Gujo Odori? How to have fun All Night Dance

Gujo Odori should be enjoyed by adults.

With these thoughts in mind, today I’m going to introduce the charm and enjoyment of Gujo Odori (especially the all-night dance here) for those who are new to it.

What is Gujo Odori?

Gujo Odori is a 400-year old Bon Odori held in Gujo Hachiman, a town located in the middle of Gifu Prefecture, upstream of the Nagara River, since the Edo period.

Gujo Odori itself is held here and there in Gujo from mid-July to early September for a long period of time

The most famous is the “All Night Dance” held on August 13, 14, 15 and 16 during the Obon period.

During this period, everyone dances to 10 different tunes throughout the night from 8:00 pm to dawn.

I can feel that it is getting well known all over the country, such as a big event of Gujo Odori held in Aoyama, Tokyo

And recently a vigil dance was held in Gujo city at the moment of the change of the Era from Heisei to Reiwa.

How to Participate in Gujo Odori

There are no requirements for participation in Gujo Odori itself.

This festival started in the Edo period (1603-1868) when the lord of Gujo Hachiman Castle said, “Let’s dance together without distinction of status during the four days of Obon,” so anyone can participate.

That means there are no onlookers.

Everyone there is dancing.

Some of you may be worried about whether you can dance well for the first time, but the Bon Odori dance, which repeats certain movements, is repeated from 8 o’clock at night until dawn.

It will take shape whether you want it to or not. Don’t worry.

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How to enjoy the Gujo Dance

Enjoy the city streets first

I know it’s a bit late, but what kind of image do you have of Gujo Odori?

The sound of “all-night dancing” might give the impression of a night of fussing all night long, but you might be wrong.

First of all, the town of Gujo Hachiman, the venue. This is the castle town of Gujo Hachiman Castle, but the streets are just amazing.

When I took this photo, it had rained the day before and the water on the side streets was muddy, but it was a quiet and beautiful place with a  clear stream running through the town.

Below this triangular roof is a drinking fountain, where you can scoop the flowing water and drink.

Daytime and night.

At night, there are so many people dancing face-to-face in the street that it’s hard to imagine what it looks like during the day.

The charm of the Gujo Dance is the beautiful townscape and the peaceful atmosphere that flows from the people in unison.

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Are there any rentals for yukata and clogs(Geta)?

As for yukata(Japanese summer kimonos), I found out that Ishiyama Gofukuten has a yukata rental service.

If you don’t have a yukata, or you were planning to dance in your regular clothes, but you’ve changed your mind, you may want to try yukata rental service.

As for clogs, there is a choreography that makes the sound of clogs crisp and clear in Gujo Odori, so you’ll enjoy it even more if you have clogs.

You may find it difficult to rent clogs, as each person’s nasal straps may be tightened differently for their feet, or the bottoms of your clogs may fall out after dancing all night, but don’t worry, as there are clog stores all over town and you can get a reasonable (about 2,000 yen) My Dance Clogs.

The shop will also adjust the tightness of the strap on the spot.

There are also stores that allow you to make stylish original clogs by choosing the pattern of the nasal stripes you like or having them branded by you, which is also very popular.

This is a popular original clog shop.

Modern Japanese patterns and liberty-patterned umbrellas too!

In addition, we will also purchase a pair of Japanese style earrings to go with the yukata and an original sacoche based on the song “Neko no Ko(means a kitten)” from the Gujo Dance.

As a side note, this sacoche was very useful.

You can keep your valuables and drink bottles together, so both hands can focus on the dance.

Finally, the dancing begins!

The charm of all-night dancing

No need to try too hard

I don’t think you need to worry about that much because it’s a bon dance.

No one cares if you can’t do it well!

Once you are confident in your skills, you can try your best to get a “dancing diploma”, which is given to people who are good dancers.

If it’s your first time to dance, I think it’s fun enough to just join the circle and imitate what you see.

Once you are confident in your skills, you can try your best to get a “dancing license“, which is given to people who are good dancers.

If it’s your first time to dance, I think it’s fun enough to just join the circle and imitate what you see.

Once you get used to it, “Hi! or “meow!

You’ll learn the timing as you do this too.

Try making the dance circle more exciting.

The festival runs for a long time, so if you’re feeling tired of dancing, take a side street and dip your legs in the flowing river to take a break, enjoy the gourmet food of Gujo Hachiman, and then join the circle and start dancing again at your own time.

I think one of the charms is that you can enjoy it in a relaxed way.

We went into a side street and took a break.

It’s cold and feels good!

Once you’re out of the dance circle, you can relax and get away from the crowds.

Grilled salted sweetfish and Kobokobo, a craft beer from Gujo Hachiman.

Drinking this “kobo kobo” is one of the pleasures of my county dance!

As time goes by, the uplifting feeling of the dance venue will increase.

If you become accustomed to dance, speak out to dancers like “Hi!” and “Ni!!!!!!” to further increase the dance cycle (when you know the timing while you’re doing it, you know the timing.)

If you feel tired of dancing for a long time, you can take a break by soaking your legs in the stream flowing in the side street, spend a long time enjoying gourmet in Kamihata, and dance by joining the ring at your own time. I think that one of the attractions is to be able to enjoy a relaxed way of enjoying things.

I got into the side street a minute, and I’ve got a frame of rest. It’s cold and pleasant!

If you get out of the dance ring, you can spend time slowly away from the crowd.

Ayu salted and Kobobobobo, a craft beer in Kamihata, county. Drinking this “boboboboko” is one of my county dance fun!(And of course, dancing.)

Access to Gujo Hachiman

If you absolutely want a good night’s sleep on the futon, I recommend that you make a reservation for your accommodation well in advance

For access, check below.

From Gifu

From Nagoya

From kansai Area

From Kanto Area

In the end

People in yukata on a beautiful cityscape with a clear stream.

The sound of live music and clogs.

A sense of unity grew in the audience as they repeated the song over and over again.

I think that the charm of Gujo Dance is the gentle, fun and uplifting feeling that is different from the “fuss”.

After all, I want adults to enjoy Gujo Odori.

I would like you to experience this excitement once.

If you’re curious, please visit Gujo Hachiman during the Bon Festival!


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