Furano Bellybutton Festival "Hokkai Heso Matsuri": July 28 & 29
The rather curious tradition of the Hokkaido Bellybutton Dance (Heso Odori) began in 1969. It was decided that a town festival was needed, in order to unify and energize Furano's people, who are spread over a large area. Inspired by Furano's location in the very middle of Hokkaido, the festival organizers came up with the idea of a dance featuring the bellybutton.
This dance was not exactly an immediate hit. In the first official Heso Matsuri, only 11 people joined the dance. However, over the years, Heso Matsuri has become one of the most famous summer festivals in Hokkaido, drawing people from around Japan and the world. Last year, over 5,000 people participated in the two-day dance, with thousands more gathering to watch.
Humor is a key reason for the festival's success. Dancers make their "heso" (bellybutton) into a face, using paint, special costumes, and props. There are many innovative variations to the simple, energetic Heso Odori (Bellybutton Dance). Competition is intense as dancers compete for prizes and glory in various categories.
All things have a center; for a person, this is the bellybutton. Hokkaido's bellybutton lies in Furano. Join us for this unique, humorous and unforgettable spectacle.