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Awa Odori Hall

A museum and theatre dedicated to the Awa Odori dance, which doubles as the station for the Mt. Bizan cable car.

Awa Odori Hall

The Awa Odori is one of Shikoku’s biggest summer festivals. It’s held in mid-August in the centre of Tokushima city. The basic dance is very simple, but with some choreography and a lot of people, it becomes a magnificent and immersive spectacle. Although the festival is based in Tokushima city, people all over the prefecture enjoy the dance and practice it throughout much of the year.

You may not happen to be in Tokushima in August, but you can get an authentic taste of the dance whenever you’re in Tokushima city at the Awa Odori Hall. This is a big glass building at the bottom of Mt. Bizan. It’s the station for the Mt. Bizan cable car, as well as a place to learn about the Awa Odori.

There’s a museum with exhibits about the history of the dance. There are prints depicting the early years of the dance, captivating dioramas of the Edo-period dance, and photographs of the Awa Odori in modern times. There are also displays of instruments and outfits. There’s even a dancing robot.

The building houses a hall where four daily shows of the Awa Odori are performed. There’s an explanation of the history of the dance, its different styles, and the instruments used, in Japanese. An English explanation is projected on the wall behind. At various times, the audience is invited to come down onto the floor and participate. It’s a very friendly, well-paced presentation, that’s calculated to make even the most resistant participant into a devotee of the beguiling Awa Odori dance.

Information

Name in Japanese: 阿波おどり会館

Pronunciation: awa odori kaikan

Address: Shinmachibashi 2-20, Tokushima 770-0904

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