What’s Bon Odori, if you may ask.

Bon Odori (盆踊り) simply meant Bon dance, which is a dancing style by the Japanese during Obon season. In Malaysia, it’s a Japanese-Malaysia cultural exchange event.


Bon Odori Festival is held once every year and is usually at the National Sports Complex in Shah Alam (or Stadium Panasonic). I had always wanted to experience this festival with my friends in high school but I never had the opportunity due to my strict parents. But, the wait is finally over!

We arrived the stadium around 6.30PM (due to the traffic jam), and there were event helpers giving out fans to the attendees. The crowd was crazy, there was so many people so we had to make our ways to the field, where the performance will be held at 7PM. We walked around the field, circling the stage in the middle of the field.

There were child dancers (both local and Japanese) around the stage and Japanese drums on the stage itself. And with a slight delay in the schedule, the event begin with drum performances by Japanese children together with a Japanese cultural dance. They performed a few traditional songs and eventually, the crowd followed the simple steps circling the stage.


Then, the organizer himself did a short drum routine as well.

And about the food stalls, it was pretty much repeating menu, like takoyaki. And maybe because of the amount of people, the food was rather disappointing and pricey. Also, there were Sakae Sushi and Sushi King opening their booths there selling sushi. Yakult was selling their products at only RM4 too, which I think its pretty worth.

As the time approaches 8PM, which is the firework show (in conjunction to the 60th Anniversary of Japanese-Malaysia Relationship), people begin to gather around the main field to watch.

The fireworks were beautiful and long, and it’s undeniable that lots of money was actually spent on the firework show.

After the show, we went home even though there were still other dance performances that actually only ended after midnight. And my friends on Snapchat were filming themselves learning the dance. Overall, it’s an interesting experience. Though I had expectations that there would be booths or presentations on the history and culture of Japan.