National

Annual Roppongi Hills Bon festival features original 'Ropponjin Ondo' music

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

The annual Roppongi Hills Bon-Odori kicked off Saturday, giving visitors to the festival a chance to experience a Japanese summer tradition.

The event runs through Sunday.

The first day of the festival attracted hundreds of visitors, ranging from children to seniors, as well as many foreigners, some of whom wore yukata (summer kimono) as they enjoyed watching traditional folk dances.

Despite hot and humid weather, many visitors enthusiastically danced or at least went through the motions by swinging their arms to the music.

Children were invited up onto the stage, called a yagura, which was set up in the center of the dance area, while their happy parents were busy taking photos and videos of them with their smartphones.

They danced to traditional Bon music, while the event also features Roppongi Hills’ original Bon music called Ropponjin Ondo.

The Bon dance was apparently well received by visitors as they called for an encore even though the time was up.

This year’s event is the 13th annual festival hosted by Mori Building Co. and Roppongi Hills.

On Sunday, Bon dancing will be presented between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Aside from the dancing, the festival is also featuring other events such as traditional dance performances from the Tohoku region in an effort to foster a sense of unity to help and support people from the area hit hard by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

More than 20 restaurants in and around the Roppongi Hills complex welcomed visitors with food stalls at the festival.

They served traditional festival foods such as fried rice, noodles, yakitori (grilled meat or vegetables on skewers), shaved ice — and, of course, cold beer.