Celebrate Gujo Odori’s UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Inscription

Toronto, August 13th, 2023

Be part of a unique once in a lifetime traditional bon dancing cultural event
celebrating Gujo Odori’s inscription in
UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural heritage list
streamed live from Gujo Hachiman Japan

When: Sunday August 13th, 2023 10:00 am until 4:00 pm EDT

Where: Kobayashi Hall at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC)
6 Garamond Court, Toronto ON M3C 1Z5

Food for sale featuring a “Taste of Gifu” with local favourites from Gujo Hachiman and Gifu prefecture together
with a special “Gujo Night Market” featuring goods for sale from and about Gujo Hachiman and Gujo Odori


10:00 am: Doors Open

10:15 am: Welcome & Introduction to Gujo Odori

10:30 am: Gujo Odori dance lessons begin

12:00 pm: Opening Ceremony

  • Connect live to Gujo Hachiman, Gifu Japan
  • Live dancing begins!

3:00 pm: Closing ceremony

  • Official “Gojo Odori Best Dancer” certificates awarded to the five best dancers identified by a Gujo Odori dance expert!
  • Official participation certificates awarded to everyone as people leave after 3:00 pm

Adults $10
Seniors $8
Children under 12: Free

Buy Tickets Online: https://gujo-odori.eventbrite.com

More About the Event and Gujo Odori…

On 13th August we will link live with Gujo Hachiman in Gifu prefecture Japan and together we will participate in Gujo Odori – a traditional bon dance with a 400 year plus history. The occasion is to celebrate Gujo Odori being inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in December 2022.

For this special simultaneous event we will stream a live performance from Japan so that people here in Toronto have the opportunity to dance “alongside” thousands of people dancing in the streets of Gujo Hachiman Japan. We will also be sending video and images to Japan for people in Gujo Hachiman to see us participate – it is a truly unique chance for Japan to see this festival expand internationally, be enjoyed overseas, and celebrated around the world.

Each evening, for 31 days begining in July, ten traditional songs are performed in a rotation decided by the musicians and singers. Each song has very simple dance movements, and people dance individually without dance partners in a large circle. We will have free dance instruction before the event, and people at the event to show everyone how to dance. We will also have food, prizes, and lots of fun for all ages, so children are very welcome. The music is haunting and beautiful, so if you’re not into dancing, you’re welcome to come and listen.

Gujo Odori is one of the three most important bon dance festivals in all of Japan. It starts in early July and continues for 32 nights until early September, and it is not uncommon to have over 10,000 people dancing together in the streets, despite the town having a population of only 16,000 people. Typically, people dance from 8 pm until 10:30 or 11:00 pm, but in August there are four special and magical nights at obon when people dance through the night until 04:00 am the next morning. It is on the first of these all-night dancing nights that we will join the dancers and musicians live at 01:00 am JST / 12:00 pm EDT and continue until 3:00 pm EDT when the dancing ends in Japan at 04:00 am JST.

The origins of this festival are rooted in inclusivity – it’s a festival where everyone is welcome, and we are looking forward to showing Japan that it’s also about diversity, something for which Toronto is famous for around the world.

As will any Japanese festival, there will be food for sale, and of course random prizes given out during the afternoon, with a special prize awarded at the end of the dancing.

Some video from 2022 when Gujo Odori returned to live dancing.

Contact us if you would like to volunteer or request a dance class

Facebook Group QR Code

Use the QR Code above to join the Gujo Odori In Toronto 2023 Facebook Group or click this link to join the Gujo Odori Facebook Group