Travel / Travel: Japan

Central Japan’s Largest Dance Matsuri: Nippon Domannaka Festival

I always feel a Cebu vibe when I visit Nagoya. The laidback lifestyle, yet being a busy metropolitan is identical to the south’s capital. Akin to Cebu which anchors Visayas’ biggest fiesta ‘Sinulog’, Nagoya hosts Japan’s current largest dance matsuriNippon Domannaka Festival.

Nippon Domannaka Festival, or locally called Domatsuri, is the largest dance festival in Central Japan having a total of 210 dance teams with 23,000 performers from Japan and other parts of the world. An estimate of almost two (2) Million visitors watch the festivities, composed of locals, and domestic and international tourists, becoming one of the largest events in Japan.

Domatsuri requires the performers to present using a naruko (clapper) while dancing to a melody from a local folk tune from the troupe’s hometown. Each team depicts a portrayal that mirrors their local culture. The beauty of this festival is that it connects the people from across Japan and beyond, giving them the chance to juice up each community, deliver on culture to the younger generations, and creatively devise newer cultural expressions in the process.

There are two type of performances – stage & parade. Stage style is where performers dance on a fixed venue, and the parade style where a troupe dances along the streets of Nagoya.
Watching the street dance parade last year was fun. I even spotted some of the audience dancing with the performers which looked so adorable.

Stage-style performers dancing on Nagoya Castle grounds

This year, Nippon Domannaka Festival will be held on 22-25 August 2019, in Central Japan, Nagoya! Be sure to drop by Nagoya when you are in Japan during late summer.

Fixed-Venue Performers

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