The Nishimonai Bon Odori goes back some 700 years. Bon, on August 16th, is a day to send off our ancestral spirits. The Bon festival runs for the three days between August 16th and 18th. As the sun sets behind the Dewa Mountains in the Nishimonai area of Ugo-machi in Akita Prefecture, the ‘yosedaiko’ drums call kimono-clad children to bonfires in the town center, where the Bon Odori then begins. The dancers’ dress is unique, with braided straw hats pinched at the back and front, and colorful ‘hanui’ kimonos made from patches of silk. These contrast with the black ‘hikosa zukin’ hoods that cover the dancers’ faces, giving them a ghostly aspect as they dance in the flickering light of the fires.
In 1981, the artistic quality of this folk dance was recognized with its designation as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property.
Enjoy the flowing grace of the dance, along with the wild strains of the ‘hayashi’ band accompaniment.