Bon Odori and the Revival of Tokyo Gourin Ondo in Shibuya

Over 30,000 people crowded the streets of Shibuya near the famous zebra scramble to dance on August 5, 2017.

Of that huge crowd, in one of Tokyo’s most popular shopping and entertainment centers, 30 members of the Tokyo 2020 team dressed in yukata and happi coats performed a dance that was popular over 53 years ago. Reviving a hit song from that time, the organizers re-released an updated version of “Tokyo Gourin Ondo”(東京五輪音頭), which roughly translates to The Tokyo Olympic Dance Song.

bon odori
Tokyo 2020 Bon Odori in Shibuya

This song by Kouhei Fukuda, amidst the follow up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, helped created Olympic fever in Japan at that time.

It is mid August, in the heat of summer, when families often come together to visit and clean family gravesites. It is also an opportunity for neighborhoods to come together in a bon odori, which you can see in almost any neighborhood in Japan. And anyone can join in the dance.

Watch this video to see how the Tokyo Gourin dance is done.