A competitive parade with a contest filled with energy
Japan’s biggest samba carnival contest takes place on the final Saturday of August in which genuine samba dance teams gather from all over the nation. Originating in 1981, 2016 marks the 35th anniversary. Every year, 500,000 visitors come to see this spectacle which is an Asakusa summer event. The parade contest consists of an S1 league with 9 teams and an S2 league with 11 teams for a total of 20 teams, with the top S1 teams having a total of 150-300 participants. The teams have their own original samba music incorporating dance, performance and singing and there are even huge floats prepared. Each team has its own theme involving the costumes, performance, dancing, vibrancy and other factors as the teams compete against each other while judged by a panel of 10 people.
A mighty parade that can rival Rio
The S1 league has large teams which were qualified by an executive committee with only those S2 league teams that have won championships being able to be promoted into S1 the following year. As well, there is also a Communication league consisting of school organizations such as brass bands, a sponsored league for corporate teams and a themed samba league in which even dancers from the home country of Brazil take part. The biggest highlight of the S1 league parade has each team judged in 8 categories which include the dress of the whole team, the set movements, choreography, the splendid individual steps of the solo passista dancers in their flowery regalia, and the Rainha da Bateria who is the top dancer on the team. The parade begins from Senso-ji Temple’s Niten-mon Gate, turns right onto Kaminari-mon Avenue and ends just in front of Kokusai Dori. The area just by Kaminari-mon Gate is recommended as the liveliest part of the parade.