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Yatsuo’s men dance much more briskly than the women but they, too, have their faces shaded.

Yatsuo’s men dance much more briskly than the women but they, too, have their faces shaded. (Photo courtesy of Toyama Prefecture)

Bon Odori is held throughout Japan in the summer, but Kaze-no-Bon at Yatsuo, Toyama, is reputed to be Japan’s most elegant bon dance.

It comes toward the end of the season, crowning the annual festival. Kaze-no-Bon literally translates to “Bon Odori of the wind.”

For three days, the streets of Yatsuo town in Toyama are pierced by the sounds of Chinese violins as women dance in cotton kimonos and men in happi coats. Locals wear hats to cover their faces. Lore indicates dancers are too bashful for their faces to be seen.

The dancers are all available, too. When they get married, they will switch from being dancers to being musicians and supporters.

People enjoy the dance till late at night, singing folk songs unique to their districts, and as dusk falls, standing lanterns are lit in the streets and the celebrations continue.

If you go ...

Dates: Sept. 1-3

Time: 3 to 11 p.m. on Sept. 1 and 2, and 7 to 11 p.m. on Sept. 3.

Access: JR Takayama Line to Etchu-Yatsuo Station (from JR Toyama Station).

Information: 076-454-3111/ 076-455-3181

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