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Dancing with Colors in Iwate Prefecture

Iwate Ninohe festival 

Written by Teresa Fong

Up in Iwate prefecture is a tiny town called Ninohe. Actually, it’s less a tiny town and more a town with a low population destiny. With a population of 25,785 as of June 2019, Ninohe only has about 61 people per square kilometer!

Let’s compare that to Tokyo. As of February 2020, there are 13.9 million people living inside there, meaning there are about 6,225 people per square kilometer! 

They aren’t even in the same race. That’s why Ninohe’s community center has boosted their efforts to increase youth involvement in hopes they will carry on local traditions.

One such tradition is a dance with lots of colors and instruments. I absolutely love the neon yellow! Comment down below with your favorite color.

I am always excited by color, so when I popped into the Ninohe community center and saw a group of dancers wearing all the colors possible, I couldn’t wait to get involved! 

I was surprised to learn that they are in their 3rd years in junior high. Even so, I knew I shouldn’t underestimate their dancing abilities. They each had different routines based on the prop they held. Together, they showed an intricate dance I couldn’t follow. I repeat, I could not follow it. I flailed like an octopus.

Watch as the boy with the baton whips it up without any incidents. I tried twirling it myself after, and I am sure I made the weirdest faces while trying to catch it.  

Nihohe festival dance

There’s a good reason why this team has practiced so hard! Every year, there’s a four-day festival in town that brings in about 75,000 people. I didn’t write the wrong number! This festival is one of those moments everyone who left Iwate for another prefecture comes back to reunite with family and friends. With a 1000 people parade and endless fireworks, it’s no wonder people return for this event. If there were that many eyes on me, I would practice endless, too!

Ninohe Iwate Festival

About the author:

Teresa FongTeresa Fong is Fiji-born, America-raised, and is currently working in Tokyo. She loves listening to podcasts about self-help and crime. Currently on a mission to improve her digital art skills, but a love for meeting with friends in new cafes gets in the way! She's currently eight months into an ab challenge, giving her some amazing lines that unfortunately disappear the moment she bends down. You can check her out on Instagram @imterryf.

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