Summer Festival Parade Enlivens Otaru in Hokkaido

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Dancers parade on the street during the Otaru Ushio Festival in Otaru, Hokkaido.

OTARU, Hokkaido — The main dance event of the Otaru Ushio Festival, a summer staple in the Hokkaido city of Otaru, was held July 29 with about 5,000 people from 76 groups dancing and parading in the city center for eight hours.

The Ushio Nerikomi dance parade took place on the same scale as before the COVID-19 pandemic for the first time since 2019. Locals and tourists lined the street to watch the spectacle.

Each team of dancers was clad in yukata cotton kimono or matching T-shirts. They got sweaty but braved the brutally hot weather, dancing and smiling to the cheering crowd.

The festival ended on July 30 with a mikoshi portable shrine parade, a taiko drum performance and fireworks display.