Straw Hats on Tokyo Streets
While walking near Harajuku Station in Tokyo recently, I noticed women dressed in traditional kimono with what seemed to be a straw fan in their hand – only to realize that the fan turns into a hat. Genius.
As more and more women turned up in identical outfits, I realized they were part of a group performing folk dance in Yoyogi Park.
The Koenji Awa Odori festival gathers different groups dressed in distinct traditional outfits, specific to a province. Musicians play various traditional instruments, including the shamisen lute, taiko drums and kane bells, for dancers.
Traditionally held in Tokushima since the 12th century, the event has lately become popular enough to inspire a Tokyo version.
Like many such festivals, the roots of the folk dance go back to kumi-odori, a harvest dance, which explain the straw material.
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Tags: Costume, Hats, Japan, Tokyo, Tradition