Although Tokushima City has a population of a little over a quarter of a million people, the Awa Odori festival receives over 1 million visitors every year. Awa Odori is held on the same dates every year, August 12 – 15.

Awa Odori in Tokushima

Begins August 12 and finishes August 15 annually

Dancers and festival goers at Ryōgokuhon-chō in Tokushima-shi for the Awa Odori festival
Panasonic DMC-LX3 (5.1mm, f/2, 1/50 sec, ISO80)
Dancers and festival goers at Ryōgokuhon-chō in Tokushima-shi

At any one time over the 4 days there are multiple troupes of dancers and musicians making their way through the streets. There are official staged areas which need pre-purchased tickets to enter. Multiple areas, which are accessible to pedestrian traffic only, just like are Ryōgokuhon-chō free for anyone to view.

Awa Odori travel tip

This festival is massive. If you want to go, you’ll need to book accommodation well in advanced. Japan’s obon, a national holiday, is also on during this time and many Japanese are travelling throughout the country. Hotels are fully booked out many months before the festival. Book early and enjoy an amazing spectacle. As the dates are the same every year, you’ll know exactly what nights to book.

The year I attended, I took a tour bus from Okayama City for a day trip. Friends who had travelled from Aichi Prefecture couldn’t find anywhere to sleep that night, not even a spare seat at an internet cafe.

Your travel guide to Awa Odori

Get all the details on the festival, including up-close-photos of the dancers from my front row special stage seats: Awa Odori 「阿波おどり」 in Tokushima City, Tokushima Prefecture, Shikoku Island.

Location of this photo at Awa Odori:

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