This article was provided by the Morioka City Government, and translated by Amanda Wayama. 

We can hear the cicada chirping this year, as always, during the hot summer of Morioka in Iwate Prefecture.

Yet, this summer is very different from those past.

Usually, summer in Morioka is filled with sounds of drums and flutes humming throughout the town.

Men and women, old and young are usually hard at work preparing and practicing for the Morioka Sansa Odori festival that is held every year on August 1-4. The air is filled with joy and laughter.

(From “MORIOKA City Promotion Photo Book – Spring, Summer”)

The Sansa Odori legend goes as follows: many, many years ago, the castle town of Morioka as plagued by a demon who was going around and causing mischief. Troubled, the townspeople prayed to the god of the shrine to banish the demon. The god caught the demon, and told it to go away and stop harming the townspeople. Overcome with joy, the townspeople danced and shouted, “sansa sansa!” By the by, when the demon was captured by the god, it left its handprint on one of the three rocks by the shrine, which is how “Iwate” (lit. “Rock Hand”) got its name.

There are many different types of Sansa Odori dances, and the various neighborhoods of the city have their own traditional dances that have been passed down through the ages. There are also dances that were specifically created for the parade itself, and during the four days of the Morioka Sansa Odori parade, many different organizations perform these dances as they march down main street.

You would be blown away by the over 30,000 participants dance and twirl with their taiko drums and flutes.

(From “MORIOKA City Promotion Photo Book – Spring, Summer”)

This classic summer festival was unfortunately canceled for the first time ever this year due to the spread of COVID-19.

Even so, the people of Morioka are not letting their dreams of Sansa Odori die.

There are many projects being held where you can enjoy Sansa Odori even at home.

One of those is the “Together Through Sansa Project (“Sansa De Tsunagaru Project)” at . With this project, anyone can join at any time by posting/watching videos of people performing the Sansa dances.

Even though things are still tough, we believe that we’ll come through if people do their best.

Once things calm down, we hope you come visit Morioka!

We’re looking forward to the day where we once again hear the banging of drums and chirping of flutes throughout the town.





(MORIOKA city promotion photo book-Spring,Summer-より)



(MORIOKA city promotion photo book-Spring,Summer-より)