هيوغا هيوتوكو 日向ひょっとこ夏祭り
Enjoy the outlandish dances at this massive summer festival
If you're in the Hyuga area of north Miyazaki on the first weekend of August, you're in for a treat. The Hyuga Hyottoko Festival is one of Japan's biggest summer dance festivals and attracts over 2,000 participants and 70,000 visitors.
- The individual Hyuga Hyottoko competition on the first day
- The main parade and festival on the second day
- Free Hyottoko dance instruction classes for festivalgoers
How to Get There
The event is held in the city of Hyuga , which is located in northern Miyazaki Prefecture and can be accessed by train or car.
By train, take the JR Nippo line from Miyazaki and head for Nobeoka. Get off at Hyugashi Station, 45 minutes away. The festival is held right around the station.
By car, take Route 10 out of the city heading for Nobeoka. Look for signs to Hyugashi Station on the left. The journey is about an hour depending on traffic.
Although the comical Hyottoko masks are the main attraction, wolf women and fox masks are also featured in the festival
The dancers' uniforms include polka dot head towel, red kimono, white obi belt, and fundoshi, a traditional loincloth
The vast majority of dances are comical, but occasionally, the movements are suggestive and erotic
Hyottoko refers to the unique, smiling character that you can often see in Japanese folk dances and performances.
People believe that the Hyottoko Odori, the dance that's the centerpiece of this festival, can bring good luck and prosperity to those who perform it.
If at first you don't succeed...
On the first day, individual performance competitions are held. The second day is where the fun really begins.
Dressed in red and white, the dancers move to the rhythmic beats of drums and the light fluttering of flutes, all while making exaggerated hand, feet, and head movements.
Make the most out of the event
While festivalgoers can't actually participate in the dances, you can learn how to do them, and you can also buy cute little souvenirs as reminders of this great summer event.