What is the Hiroshima Bon Dance?
The Hiroshima Bon Dance is a summer festival which revives the “War Victims Memorial Bon Dance Festival,” held in the summer one year after the dropping of the atomic bomb, as an experience-based international peace event. It carries on the enjoyment of the Japanese cultural tradition of “Bon Dances” taking place at overseas locations where many residents of Hiroshima Prefecture emigrated, as well the joy of peace and memories of restoration.
※ The times mentioned in the access guide above are just estimations. Please confirm details through the website and other official information sources for each of the methods of transportation. ※ With regard to airlines, each country operates international flights into the area. (Arrival locations may change.) ※ The event venue has no parking lot. Please use a paid parking lot in the vicinity.
Sponsor: The Chugoku Shimbun
What is “Bon?”
This is a summer event which brings together the custom of honoring the spirits of one’s ancestors which has been in practice since ancient times in Japan and Buddhism. Ancestors and the departed are said to return during the bon holiday, so families and relatives get together to give offerings, visit graves, and conduct similar activities, as well as hold memorial services for the dead and eat lavish meals. In the western part of Hiroshima Prefecture, there is a unique custom where people visit graves to offer the bon festival lanterns made with bamboo, and paper colored red, blue, yellow and other colors called “Bon Touro”, and many gravesites are decorated with these colorful “Bon Touro.”
What is “Bon Dance?”
This is a dance to welcome and send off the spirits of ancestors who return during the bon holiday. It developed from Japanese traditional performing arts known as “Nenbutsu Odori,” Buddhist incantation using chanting, drumbeating, and dancing. It is held with the aim of enhancing entertainment for people and binding together the local community. It has been a popular event in Japan since the old days. Basically, anyone can participate, dancing in a circle in time with the beat of drums, other instruments and songs. A long time ago, the dance was held at temples and shrines, but these days it is often held in open spaces where a large number of people can gather as an event to deepen fellowship among members of the community.