What Is Yosakoi Soran Festival In Hokkaido?

The Yosakoi Soran Festival is one of the most colorful and exciting festivals in Hokkaido, Japan. 

This festival combines traditional Japanese dance with modern music to create a unique and exciting spectacle that draws thousands of visitors from around the world. 

If you’re planning to attend this festival, here’s your guide to making the most of your experience.

Yosakoi Soran Festival

What is Yosakoi Soran Festival?

Yosakoi Soran Festival is an annual event held in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. The festival was first held in 1992 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Sapporo’s founding. 

Since then, it has become one of the largest festivals in Hokkaido, attracting over 2 million visitors annually.

The festival features dance performances by teams of dancers dressed in vibrant costumes, using traditional Japanese fans and naruko (wooden clappers) to create a rhythmic beat. 

The dance is accompanied by modern music, such as rock, hip-hop, and techno, which makes the festival feel both traditional and contemporary at the same time.

When is the Yosakoi Soran Festival?

The Yosakoi Soran Festival is usually held in early June, and it lasts for two days.

The festival starts with an opening ceremony on the first day, and then the dance performances begin on the second day. The festival ends with a closing ceremony on the evening of the second day.

Where is the Yosakoi Soran Festival held?

The festival is held in Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido. The main venue for the festival is Odori Park, which is located in the center of the city. 

Odori Park is a large park that stretches for several blocks and is the site of many of Sapporo’s major events, including the Snow Festival in winter.

How to get to Yosakoi Soran Festival?

If you’re traveling from Tokyo, you can take a flight to New Chitose Airport, which is located about an hour’s drive from Sapporo. 

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From the airport, you can take a bus or train to Sapporo Station, which is located in the center of the city. From there, you can walk to Odori Park, which is about a 10-minute walk away.

If you’re already in Sapporo, you can take the subway to Odori Station, which is located beneath Odori Park. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or bus to the park.

What to expect at the Yosakoi Soran Festival?

The festival is a lively and energetic event, with dancers dressed in colorful costumes performing traditional Japanese dance to modern music. 

The performances take place on several stages located throughout Odori Park, and there are also food stalls and souvenir shops selling traditional Japanese snacks and souvenirs.

The festival attracts a large crowd, so expect long lines and crowded spaces. It’s recommended to arrive early to secure a good spot to watch the performances.

History of Yosakoi Soran Festival

The Yosakoi Soran Festival is a relatively new addition to Japan’s festival scene, having first started in 1992. 

It was created as a way to revitalize the city of Sapporo, the capital city of the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido.

The festival was designed to showcase the unique culture and traditions of Hokkaido, while also incorporating modern elements and attracting a younger audience.

The festival’s name, Yosakoi Soran, comes from two different styles of dance. Yosakoi is a style of dance that originated in the city of Kochi in southern Japan, while Soran is a traditional folk song from Hokkaido. 

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The festival combines these two styles to create a unique and dynamic dance performance that is a fusion of traditional and modern elements.

The first Yosakoi Soran Festival was held in Odori Park in Sapporo in 1992, with just 10 dance teams participating.

 Since then, the festival has grown in popularity and size, with over 250 dance teams and 40,000 dancers participating in recent years.

The festival has become an important cultural event in Hokkaido, drawing visitors from all over Japan and around the world. 

It takes place every year in early June and lasts for three days, featuring a variety of dance performances, food stalls, and other festival activities.

The Yosakoi Soran Festival has not only become a celebration of Hokkaido’s unique culture and traditions but has also become a symbol of the city of Sapporo’s resilience and spirit, as it continues to attract visitors and grow in popularity with each passing year.

Tips for enjoying the Yosakoi Soran Festival 

  • Dress comfortably: The festival takes place in early June, which is during the summer season in Hokkaido. The weather can be warm and humid, so it’s best to dress in light, comfortable clothing.
  • Bring cash: Many of the food stalls and souvenir shops at the festival only accept cash, so it’s a good idea to bring enough yen to cover your expenses.
  • Arrive early: The festival is popular, so arrive early to secure a good spot to watch the performances. The performances start in the morning and continue throughout the day.
  • Try the food: The festival is a great opportunity to try traditional Japanese food, such as yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), takoyaki (octopus balls), and okonomiy a (Japanese-style savory pancake). Be sure to also try Hokkaido’s famous seafood, such as fresh crab and scallops.
  • Respect the performers: The dancers work hard to prepare for the festival, so be sure to show them respect by not disrupting their performances. Also, do not touch or interfere with their costumes or props.
  • Take breaks: The festival can be tiring, so take breaks to rest and recharge. There are several seating areas located throughout Odori Park, where you can relax and enjoy the festival atmosphere.
  • Bring sunscreen: The festival takes place outdoors, so it’s important to protect your skin from the sun. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to stay cool and comfortable.
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Additionally, visitors can also participate in the festival by joining one of the many dance teams. 

Many dance teams offer workshops and lessons leading up to the festival, allowing visitors to learn the dance and perform alongside the other dancers during the festival.

If you’re interested in participating in the festival, be sure to check out the official Yosakoi Soran Festival website for more information on how to join a dance team or participate in other festival activities.

Overall, the Yosakoi Soran Festival is a unique and exciting celebration of Hokkaido’s culture and traditions. 

With its vibrant dance performances, delicious food, and festive atmosphere, it’s no wonder why this festival draws thousands of visitors from around the world every year. 

Follow these tips to make the most of your experience and have a memorable time at the Yosakoi Soran Festival in Hokkaido.

Conclusion

The Yosakoi Soran Festival is a vibrant and exciting event that celebrates the culture and traditions of Hokkaido. 

With its lively dance performances, colorful costumes, and delicious food, the festival is a must-visit for anyone visiting Sapporo in June. 

Follow this guide to make the most of your experience and create lasting memories of your time in Hokkaido.

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