Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Every year in August, the streets of Asakusa come alive in the samba festival, so last Saturday I decided to get into the carnival spirit and see what it was all about.

Asakusa's Samba Festival first started in 1981, when the mayor of Taito City(one of the central 23 cities of Tokyo) invited the winning group from that year's Rio Carnival in Brazil. Now teams from all over Japan come to compete as well as some from Brazil.

There really was a great latin vibe with all of the beautiful costumes, music and dancing and it was a spectacular feast for the eyes.


My weekend of dance continued the following day on Sunday when I went to the Super Yosakoi Festival in Harajuku.

The Yosakoi Festival originated in the Kochi Prefecture in 1954, as a means to boost morale and spirit in a community that was experiencing a long standing economic depression. The dancing and music is a fusion of the old and the new, with performances ranging from traditional yosakoi to samba, rock and hip-hop.

The music comes from an old folk song called 'Yosakoi Bushi' and forms the basis of what most teams use to accompany their dance. Even if the dancing and song is a modern update, it must still include a line from this song.

In total there were 6000 dancers over the two days of the festival and it was an amazing site to see all the dancers in their costumes, banging their naruko(clappers) in time to the music.

You can all of the photos here.

The official site for the Asakusa Samba Carnival is

The official site for the Super Yosakoi Festival is