The Season of Kamogawa Odori By Ponto-cho Geisha
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Fun and Beautiful Dance Stage in Ponto-cho
The month of May is a perfect time to visit Kyoto as having the calm weather, bloomed flowers and the famous Kamogawa Odori.
What Is Kamogawa Odori?
Kamogawa Odori is an annual spring dance performance by Ponto-cho Maiko and Geiko held three times a day between May 1 to 24, 2017.
For Japanese learners, “Kamogawa” means the Kamo River and “Odori” means dancing. Ponto-cho is one of the licensed geisha districts or Hanamachi in Kyoto and it’s known as its narrow street parallel with the Kamo River and attractive atmosphere.
Kamogawa Odori was began in 1872 at the Kyoto Exhibition, Japan’s first international exhibition. It didn’t take a long time to win its popularity around Japan and abroad, as has gathered the great attention and regarded with admiration by overseas celebrities such as Jean Cocteau and Charlie Chaplin.
It has continued as an annual event since the time and it marks the 180th anniversary this year. Themes of Kamogawa Odori change every year and each of them are uniquely written by the exclusive play-writer. You never get boring since it contains dramatic stories back to Edo and Heian periods. Just don’t get asleep because of lovely and solemn sounds of music coming from the orchestra. There is no other special occasion that you are able to see splendid dance performance by over twenty Maiko and Geiko of Ponto-cho all at once.
The narrow street of Ponto-cho
This Year’s Odori Theme
Kamogawa Odori is divided into two acts. The Act I is about “The Story of Ladies of the Minamoto and the Taira Clans”, the tragedy of one woman who fells in hopeless love with a soldier fighting the Genpei Battle, 1180. The audiences will be moved by her devoting herself to one guy and her destiny to live for love, to be blinded by love and die for love.
The theme of the Act II is “Thousands of Years of Auspiciousness of Pontocho” which shows people’s confusion and excitement in Kyoto after the restoration of government to the crown, one of the most influential events happened 150 years ago. The act is divided into six different scenes. Each of the six scenes is described as flowers and trees, Sho-chiku-bai (pain, bamboo, Japanese apricot), Peach Blossoms, Magnolia, White Japanese Apricot Blossoms, Mitsuba-aoi (three leaves of Hollyhock) and Chrysanthemums. In the scene I, Sho-chiku-bai, you are able to see gorgeous Maiko with colourful sets and rhythmical melody. How many of you are fans of Samurai warriors? In the scene V, Mitsuba-aoi, three samurai warriors appear in front of you and you’ll be so excited by the reality.
In order to understand the two acts more deeply, it’s recommended to buy a program (¥600) which is sold at the lobby. The program has detailed descriptions of those stories in English with pictures. You are able to find names of performers, Maiko and Geiko, and useful information on the program.
Date & Time: May 1 — May 24, 2017. At 12:30, 14:20 and 16:10
Place: “Pontocho Kaburenjo Theater” Pontocho Sanjokudaru, Nakagyo-ku 〒604-8003 Tel: (075) 221-2025
Admission: Special seat inclusion tea ceremony: ¥4,800, Special seat: ¥4,200, Ordinary seat: ¥2,300, Only tea ceremony: ¥700
先斗町・鴨川をどり公式サイト. (n.d.). Retrieved May 01, 2017, from http://www.kamogawa-odori.com/
先斗町歌舞練場. (2017 ). 鴨川をどり [Brochure]. Kyoto : Author.
INC., S. D. (n.d.). 【動画】鴨川をどり前夜祭 艶やかに. Retrieved May 08, 2017, from http://www.sankei.com/photo/movie/news/160501/mov1605010002-n1.html
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