Every year, Matsumoto Bon-Bon turns the downtown area into into a massive, 3-hour dance party where teams of dancers gradually move along a designated course through the city performing a special dance called (surprise!) the Matsumoto Bon-Bon dance.
The dance goes along with the “Matsumoto Bon-Bon” song, which was written especially for this event and sung by Yoko Maekawa, a singer known in particular for anime theme songs. This is the only song that gets played (on repeat) throughout the entire three hours, but it’s catchy enough that nobody seems to mind.
This year’s festival boasted around 23,000 dance participants, 256 teams, and an estimated 200,000 onlookers—that’s roughly the same as the population of the entire city of Matsumoto! Check out the video below for a view of the fest from above:
Teams are formed by local businesses, schools, and sports clubs as well as off shoots like the foreign expat team and the Japan Defense Force team.
Adding to the atmosphere are the food stalls, festival lanterns, and young couples who come wearing yukata (summer kimono). At the end of the night, teams win prized based on their performance.
If you’d like more info or plan to go next year, check out the Matsumoto Bon-Bon event page!