What you need to know about Oiran Dochu

Jun 14, 2021


What is Oiran Dochu?


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Oiran Dochu [01] is a procession-reenactment of processions done by the oiran, the courtesans of Yoshiwara in Edo Period, with a purpose to advertise the houses they worked in. The reenactment involves men and women dressed up in Edo period costumes. When the parade ends with a meeting between the tayu (most senior oiran) and her customer.

In the past, the procession was done by a professional oiran. But these days, Oiran Dochu are done by the amateurs living in the area. And giving us chances to see how things must have been back then.

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About the procession

girl-playing-flute-oiran-dochuThe procession starts with dancers and musicians marching along the street wearing kitsune (fox) masks, symbolizing the god of Inari, patron of the Yoshiwara women. After that, a night watchman called “kanabo-hiki” makes noise and alerts the crowd using metal sticks with rings.


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Tekomai geisha, who are wearing men’s clothes and hairdos, “chochin-mochi”, who are holding the paper lantern with the name of the tayu, and “kamuro”, the servant of the tayu, march along the street to escort the tayu.


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The final part of the procession is when the tayu enters the procession and performs her “soto-hachi-moji” step in her high clogs, supported by “katakashi no otokoshu” and “kasa-mochi no otokoshu”, who holds an enormous umbrella.

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Where to see Oiran Dochu

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Oiran Dochu is held several times a year in April, May, September, October, and November. The locations to see this admirable festival varies every year, but mostly you can see it at a festival dedicated to the procession.

Some of the most famous festivals with Oiran Dochu are: Ichiyo Zakura Matsuri in Tokyo, Bunsui Sakura Matsuri in Niigata, Shizuoka Matsuri in Shizuoka, Miyazaki Oiran Dochu in Miyazaki, Shakuson Kotan-sai in Saitama, Shinagawa Shukuba Matsuri in Tokyo, Osu Daido Chonin Matsuri in Nagoya, Oiso Shukuba Matsuri in Kanagawa, and Maruyama Hana Matsuri in Nagasaki

If you’re not sure about your travel schedule, but still want to see it, you might want to stop by the Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura, a Japanese traditional theme park in Nikko, Tochigi, as the theme park offer the event daily at around 15:00.


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