Obanazawa City in Yamagata Prefecture is considered as Hanagasa Odori’s birthplace.
The city is also noted as a region producing watermelons and recently as hometown of Japan women’s soccer coach Norio Sasaki.
The origin of Hanagasa Ondo music is the one sung by workers leveling land for an agricultural water security project on Tokurako Lake in 1918, and impromptu dance performed to the music with a hat is the original model of Hanagasa Odori, they say.
Hanagasa Odori dance is characterized by its lively motion of spinning hat whose size is same to that of which workers used to put on to protect sunlight and rain.
Movements of spinning hat represent meanings depicting construction works done by hand.
Hanagasa Matsuri festival in Obanazawa, the birthplace of Hanagasa Odori, was held from August 26 through 28. Especially the Hanagasa Odori Grand Parade on the 28th, the last day of the festival, performed by 72 organizations and groups including five traditional schools which makes the total number of dancers approximately 3,000, attracted viewers from all over Japan with Hanagasa spirit enveloped the city.
For more details of Hanagasa Matsuri in Obanazawa, please visit its official website (Japanese only).