This festival takes places for two days over the first weekend of August and is Okayama City’s summer festival. There is a parade that takes place along Momotaro Boulevard from the front of JR Okayama Station to the area near Okayama Symphony Hall.
In an arrangement that is organized in a fashion similar to carnival celebrations around the world, teams of dancers representing clubs and communities throughout the city put on their best performances to the delight of enthusiastic crowds.
Dressed in brilliant costumes bearing the colors of their troupes and with their faces painted just as strikingly, the dancers move along in perfect cadence to the sounds of the festival dance song, Uraja.
Since the opening of Okayama AEON Mall, you can actually see demonstration performances in the open space on the first floor. Even that is quite the spectacle, as the resident TV crew at the mall is onsite to record every dance move.
Apart from the dancing, there is a full on Japanese style summer festival that takes place along the section of the Asahi River near Okayama Castle and Korakuen Garden. There are dozens of food stalls selling everything from grilled chicken kebabs, squid and corn to fried noodles. It is really a great atmosphere with crowds numbering into the hundreds of thousands.
The highlight of Saturday evening is the fireworks display that gets underway around 7:30pm and last for about an hour. Upwards of 5000 rockets are launched in what is considered one of the best displays in the Chugoku area of West Japan.
Access: On main street in front of JR Okayama Station up to Okayama Castle.
About the Area
Okayama City is the prefectural capital and as such is the center of politics for both the prefecture and the city. Founded in the late 19th century, the municipality has seen the devastation of war and rebirth during the years that followed.
Today, Okayama City has the distinction of having designated ordinance status, which means it has a new found measure of autonomy.
The city has an extensive cultural zone not far from the station that includes the nationally renowned Korakuen Garden and Okayama Castle.
While many who enjoy a castle visit delight in its interior and activities such as wearing kimono and samurai armor, few explore the surrounding area that would have comprised its associated town.
Weave your way in and out of all the streets of this area, using the Asahi River and the castle as your anchor.
The cultural zone is also home to museums, galleries, historic buildings, civic halls and the epic symphony hall performance venue.
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