Kochi Yosakoi Information Exchange Centre Museum
Every August the streets come alive when dance troupes from around the country descend on this sleepy, seaside city. Get your hips a’moving and your clappers clacking: time to experience Kochi’s famous Yosakoi dance festival all year round at Kochi’s Yosakoi Museum.
Relatively modern (the festival started in 1954) and the freedom given to the troupes to choreograph their own routines gives this festival a fun, contemporary vibe. The museum hopes to give visitors an informative and entertaining experience of Kochi’s lively cultural heritage. The exchange center consists of the Yosakoi Circle of history and knowledge, and the Yosakoi Square of evolutions and experiences. As well as a theatre which shows documentaries on the 60-year-old heritage of the Yosakoi Festival.
Unlike more traditional Japanese dance styles which are often characterized by their stiff and precise movement, Yosakoi is all about dancing freely. Get a taste of the dance itself by taking part in the museum’s Seicho Yosakoi Naruko Odori workshop, run in the Yosakoi Taiken Corner.
Similarly, why not try making your own beautifully decorated Naruko clappers at a workshop run by the same team? Naruko are wooden clappers which are one of the most common elements of Yosakoi. Once used by farmers to ward off crows from their crops, these are now implemented to add a unique sound to performances. Troupes usually decorate their Naruko to suit their costumes. Don’t forget to try on the costumes and take commemorative pictures before you leave.