Nippon Domannaka Festival (Domatsuri)

The Nippon Domannaka Festival, commonly known as Domatsuri, is one of the most energetic and vibrant festivals all around Japan.

It is held in Nagoya, at the end of August, when the summer heat reaches its peak. 

Domatsuri is a 4-day-festival that fills Nagoya city and its surroundings with hundreds of Yosakoi dancers coming from all over the country and even abroad.

Watch the performance of the winning team from 2019 Domatsuri.

Yosakoi, a Modern-Traditional Japanese Summer Dance For Everyone

Domatsuri 2019
A Yosakoi team dancing next to Nagoya Station

If you are not familiar with Japanese dances, you are probably wondering what Yosakoi dance is.

Yosakoi is a relatively new Japanese dance style that combines traditional movements from Japanese traditional dances, like Awa Odori, and modern music. In Yosakoi there are no rules! This dance style offers a lot of freedom for each team to create their own unique style.

Yosakoi roots go back to 1954, in Kochi Prefecture, on the southern island of Shikoku, when the Youth Group from Kochi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, organized the 1st Yosakoi Festival to bring a bit of joy to the population after WWII through dance. 

Yosakoi was gaining more and more popularity throughout the country.

NOTE: Its name comes from Shikoku’s traditional Tosa dialect: 夜さ来い(Yo-Sa-Koi)  which means “Come at night”.

In Nagoya, Domatsuri began in 1999, with only 26 dance teams and a total of 1,500 dancers participating. Today, the festival has more than 200 teams and more than 2 million spectators. This makes Domatsuri one of the largest summer events in Japan.

Yell, Sing, Smile, and Clap Together Celebrating the Love of Dance

Domatsuri 2019
Female Yosakoi dancers team giving all the joy to the spectators

The festival runs for 4 days, where dance teams are judged and a winning team is announced on the last day during the final contest.

All the teams compete in performances at multiple venues set up around the city, including public parks, plazas, and temple grounds, closing-off streets to traffic for the occasion. 

There are many types of teams, from big teams reaching more than 100 members to small teams with less than 10 people. In Yosakoi anyone can participate, men, women, and children of all ages. And some teams have members ranging from old to young.

The dance teams have to create costumes reflecting their local traditions and dancers must use Naruko (鳴子), or clappers, as part of their performance.

Is the Domatsuri Going to Be Held This Year?

Domatsuri 2019
A male Yosakoi team with cool outfits

There were many unknowns around this question due to the chaos that is surrounding the globe due to COVID-19.

In 2019 the Domatsuri reached 2,357,000 spectators, but in 2020 because of COVID-19 it’s going to be a completely different event.

After four months of deliberations the organizers have reached the conclusion not to cancel the festival and have decided instead to change the format of the event to an online event called “Tele Domatsuri” (テレどまつり). The event dates are scheduled to be from August 28 to 30.

For this online event everyone can participate, including groups from overseas, and the participation fee will be free.

The online event will be live streaming on YouTube and NikoNiko (Japanese only).

Here is the schedule for the online Domatsuri:

August 28, Friday: From 17:00 (Japan time)
A recap of the best moments from the past Domatsuri.

August 29, Saturday: All day (unspecified time)
On the first day of the main festival, you can watch the video performances from the participant teams.

August 30, Sunday: All day (unspecified time)
On the second day of the main festival, you will continue watching the video performances from the participating teams, the final contest, and the Domatsuri Award.

On the second day of the main festival, you will continue watching the video performances from the participating teams, the final contest, and the Domatsuri Award.

Join the Fun by Participating Rather Than Just Being a Spectator

Domatsuri 2019
Yosakoi dancers making all the fun

If you are thinking of participating in this online festival here is the entry form and here is the information you need to know about to participate in this contest.

Make sure that you apply until midnight July 31, 2020(Japan time).

Also, don’t miss the Sō Odori(総踊り), a dance that invites spectators to join the fun. This year the Sō Odori will have an “At home edition”. Everyone is free to participate. Dance with your family, or with your friends, or maybe alone, you only need to follow the choreography on the below video, take a video and upload it to the Tick Tock app.

The deadline for Sō Odori will be until August 17 23:59 (Japan time).

All the videos will be broadcast on the second day of the online event, during the finale.

Choose between these 3 Sō Odori choreographies:

1. YEAH! HOPE‼

2. 晴れルヤ!(Hareruya!)

3. MATSURIBANA

Good luck to all participants and we at Nagoya is not boring are looking forward to enjoying this year’s Domatsuri.

Nippon Domannaka Festival (にっぽんど真ん中祭り)
Website
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| YouTube | Tik Tok | Niko Niko

Another festival held in Nagoya in summer is the World Cosplay Summit. Like the Domatsuri, it will be held online this year. Check here for more information.


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Elisabeth Llopis
About the author

Web and Graphic designer living in Aichi Prefecture for more than 10 years. Trying to do the things that she loves and living the life with passion. She is also a travel-food lover and dance lover: her great passion.

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