Bon Festival of Nishimonai, Akita

“Bon Festival of Nishimonai” which is counted in the three major Bon Festival in Japan. It is an event of Ugomachi in Akita prefecture, a woman who is deeply wearing Amigasa (a straw hat worn to conceal one’s face) and whose face can not be seen wears different costumes for each person, and is elegant and magical Show off the dance. This is an important intangible cultural heritage of a country which Akita is proud of. A dancer who dances around the city illuminated by fires seems to be the traveler from the different world.

The dancer is wearing Amigasa and Hikosa-Zukin (hood) etc, so you can not see its face. And what the dancer with Amigasa is wearing is called “Hanui-Isho” (sewing the edge of a piece of cloth). This costume is made by combining a number of large and small silk cloths in the past, it seems that there is no one of the same design. The dancers wearing Hikosa-Zukin are often minors, and they are wearing the “indigo hand-clapping” costume. They represent the deceased.

Wearing this fascinating and beautiful outfit, dancing is “Ondo” (dance song) and “Ganke”. Ondo is a quiet and graceful dance which performs a gesture and footwork fluently and elegantly with wild musical accompaniment. With the whistle tone and elegant dance, it creates a fantastic atmosphere as if you had gotten into a different world. And “Ganke” is the soul dance.

Of course, the viewer can participate in this Bon Festival dance, but there are points to distinguish local dancers from those who are not. It seems that it is the hand of the fingers. Local dancers have a fairly benign condition in their fingers, which will be occasionally dancing from a young age.

Bon Odori is also said to be performed as a part of “Chinkon no Gi” (a ritual ceremony for the repose of a soul) in the first place. The Bon Festival of Nishimonai is said to have a strong tendency as you can see from dancing with the face hidden. Please visit, if you would like to come to see this dazzling dance.


Name:Bon Festival of Nishimonai
Address:Nishimonai Ogachigun Ugomachi, Akita 012-1131 Japan
Access:JR Ouu-honsen Line “Yuzawa-eki Station” (18 minutes by car)
Tel:(+81) 183-62-2111 (Ugomachi Town Office)
Official site:

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