Nov. 22, 2023 UPDATE
Hanezu Odori- はねず踊り -
Hanezu Odori is a popular event with the locals, but because of the dance’s beauty the event is also popular with foreign tourists. The event is only held for one day, but if you are in Kyoto during it, we hope you go to see it!
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PeriodThe last Sunday of March
Story & Recommendation
A Pink Dance for a Pink Flower
Zuishin-in Temple is a temple famous for its plum tree blossoms, and located 20 minutes from Kyoto station by train. In this temple also famous for their connection with Ono no Komachi, one of Japan’s legendary beauties, every year a Hanezu Odori is performed on the last Sunday of March, just when the plum trees are in full bloom. In old Japanese hanezu means pale pink, and so when dancing the girls wear elaborate pale pink costumes and bamboo hats decorated with plum flowers. The dance tells the story of Ono no Komachi and the man who fell in love with her, Fukakusa no Shosho. As the children play Komachi and Shosho and dance to a children’s song that is about Komachi’s and Shosho’s tragic love, you can feel something fleeting in that carefree dance. Also in March you can see the Ono Plum Garden of Zuishin-in Temple where there are 200 plum trees. How about enjoying the beginning of spring in Kyoto by watching the Hanezu Odori and then enjoying a plum blossom viewing?
Originally the Hanezu Odori was performed by girls going from house to house. The tradition stopped after the Second World War, but was revived 40 years ago by the locals and now has become a popular event loved by many. Hanezu Odori is performed four times a day and there are seats in front of the stage. The seats fill fast, so if you want to see the dance up close we recommend you get there early!
Imayo – Song Offering
After the Hanezu Odori, girls dressed in the white costume of Japanese dancers perform a song, Imayo, popular in the Heian period (794-1185) ¬¬. This dignified and serious dance is very different from the cute Hanezu Odori.
The Blooming Plums of the Ono Plum Garden
The Ono Plum Garden with its 200 plum trees is known as the only great plum bloom viewing spot in Kyoto. The plum trees in the garden are a late blooming variety called “Hanezu plums” and are usually in full bloom in the middle of March, giving joy to the visitors. How would you like walking among plum trees surrounded by the smell of plum flowers?
Let’s Buy Hanezu Uiro in a bamboo container!
They sell “Hanezu uiro” in a bamboo container at the temple. Uiro is made from brown sugar and agar-agar, and has a special natural sweetness to it. The cute bamboo container makes uiro a great souvenir. One bamboo container of uiro costs 200 yen.