2023 Feb 4th(Sat)- Feb 5th(Sun)
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Akan Yukara | Utasa Festival 2023 Feb 4th(Sat)- Feb 5th(Sun)

Lake Akan is located in the eastern part of Hokkaido,
the home of a “Kotan” (Ainu word meaning "village" in the Ainu language) where about 120 Ainu people live.
The Ainu people of the Ainu Kotan make their living through Ainu folk songs and dances, wood carving, and handicrafts in the crisp seasonal cycles of Akan, where temperatures can exceed 30°C in summer and -20°C in winter.

In 2019, with the passing of a new Ainu law, the Ainu people were declared to be indigenous people of Japan.
However, there is still very little recognition of their history and background in this country.
The word “Utasa" in Akan Yukara "Utasa Festival" means "to mingle" in the Ainu language.
The festival started with the aim of sharing and offering a completely new live stage time that has never been seen before, where the bearers of Ainu culture and artists from Japan and abroad resonate, mingle and recognize each other.

Last year and the year before, the festival was forced to be held online for two years. This year, the 4th edition, will be held with a tangible audience.
*Participation is free of charge and will be distributed online.

We hope that you will actually visit this fascinating place called "Akan" and fully experience the Utasa Festival with your whole body.
We look forward to seeing you there. Details will be updated on the official Utasa Festival Instagram account and this website as needed.

Ainu Artist
Lake Akan Ainu Kotan
Kikuko Hikawa
Kikuko Hikawa SEE MORE
Kapiw&Apappo SEE MORE
Tadekui SEE MORE
Guest Artist
Kaho Nakamura
Kaho Nakamura SEE MORE
Utena Kobayashi
Utena Kobayashi SEE MORE
Kazunori Kumagai
Kazunori Kumagai SEE MORE
Hanaregumi SEE MORE

Kikuko Hikawa

She is an Ainu singer representing the Akan Ainu people.
She inherited the vocals of her mother, the late Kiyo Hikawa Fuchi, a wonderful singer of Ainu songs. Kikuko Fuchi sings with a unique swaying voice and the sound of her songs is just like the ancient upopo (song), and she is a legend in the Ainu upopo world of today.


Lake Akan Ainu Kotan "Utaropitta"

A total of about 30 people in their teens to 80s who continue to hand down the rituals, songs, dances, and general Ainu culture that are practiced daily in the Ainu Kotan of Lake Akan, Hokkaido, will pass on a new culture that has been resonated and filtered through utasa (fellowship).



Formed in 2021, a three-piece band based in Hokkaido.
The band's name is derived from the phrase "There is no accounting for tastes". With the concept of each member being their own person, the band creates music that is unique to Tadegui, regardless of genre.

Mikito Shimokura (Gt/vo)
Daichi Hirono (Ba)
OMI (Dr)



Kapiw and Apappo are sisters from Lake Akan Ainu Kotan who perform upopo (Ainu folk songs). Their names are Ainu words: “Kapiw” means “seagull”, and “Apappo” means “flower”.
Since childhood, these singing sisters have shared the magic of Ainu songs by using traditional Ainu instruments such as the mukkuri (a bamboo instrument similar to a Jew’s harp) and the tonkori (a plucked instrument) to play local Akan songs and songs handed down from their grandmother.
They started performing in 2011. And since then, they have performed all over Japan, sometimes performing together with other musicians.



Hanaregumi is a solo unit of Takashi Nagazumi.
In 1997, they made their major debut with SUPER BUTTER DOG.
In the summer of 2002, he started his solo activities under the name Hanaregumi in parallel with his band.
A new song "Quiet Light" included in the original album "Hakkoutai" released in March 2021 is currently airing as a popular commercial song for Kracie Pharmaceutical's "Kampo Therapy" brand.
He is currently on a nationwide tour of his own playing since 2022.
Her signature song "Sayonara Color" has been covered by many musicians, and a movie of the same title was directed by Naoto Takenaka.
His deep, warm voice and outstanding singing ability have earned his a strong following among his many fans.




An alternative rock band was formed in Osaka in 2009.
In 2012, they moved to Tokyo and have been active in various parts of Japan based on their unique perspective.
They’re the organizer of the label Jyusangatsu, which sends out a variety of domestic and international talent.
With the concept of "I want you to decide the value of fun by yourself," they have been holding the "Zen Kankaku Festival," an outdoor festival organized by Jyusangatsu, since 2014.
In January 2020, they released their fifth full-length album "Kyou -KLUE-."
And in May 2021, a new bassist, yakumoor will join the band, which will start with a new structure from FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL 2021.
On March 27th 2022, they held a one-man live concert at Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall, the largest in their career.
They will release their full-length album in three years, produced with Million Wish Collective on February 1st 2023.

MahiToThePeople (Vo/gt)
Eagle Taka (Gt)
Loscal Ishihara (Dr)
yakumoor (Ba)

GEZAN official site.

GEZAN official twitter


Kaho Nakamura

Born in 1992, she is a musician based in Kyoto.
She started her music career in earnest at the age of 20, and her existence like music itself has been attracting rumors.
In 2018, she released the album "AINOU".
In 2021, she sang and voiced Suzu/Belle, the main character in Mamoru Hosoda's latest film "Belle".
In 2022, she released a new album "NIA" and toured Japan in 7 cities and 8 places.
In 2023, she is scheduled to hold solo performances in Tokyo and Osaka in March. https://nakamurakaho.com/


Utena Kobayashi

Born in Haramura, Nagano Prefecture.
She has produced music for plays, videos and participated in live support and recordings as a steelpan player.
In 2018, she formed Black Boboi with the launch of the music community label BINDIVIDUAL.
In 2021, she released his solo album "6 roads" along with a picture book.
In 2022, she reunited "Oninomigiude".


Kazunori Kumagai

He began tap dancing at the age of 15 and moved to the U.S. at 19, where he was described as a "true tap artist" by the New York Times Magazine.
In 2006, Dance Magazine selected him as one of the "25 Dancers in the World to Watch," and he received the Flo-Bert Award in New York in 2014 and the Bessie Award in 2016.
He was selected as one of the "100 Japanese People the World Respects" by Newsweek magazine in 2019.
Currently based in New York and Japan, he has expanded his activities to Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world. His unique and one-of-a-kind art form is constantly evolving and creating a new future for tap dance. He performed, choreographed, and composed music for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Photographer : Maiko Miyakawa

ainu culture experience
  • The torchlight procession

    The torchlight procession

    The Marimo Festival began in 1950 as a festival for the Ainu people, who were concerned about the dwindling supply of marimo in Lake Akan, to offer thanks to the gods of nature through the marimo.
    The "torchlight procession" that takes place during this festival is considered a traditional ceremony in which people carry marimo from the lake to Ainu Kotan in a procession with a fire. This time, as a special event of the Utasa Festival, the Ainu people and participants

    Date & Time: February 4(Sat), 16:30
    Place: Meet at 16:20 in front of the "Ice Stage" behind New Akan Hotel
    Limited number of 20 people are being recruited at the following URL.

  • Talk Session
    "Neusar / Let's Talk Happily"

    Talk Session
    "Neusar / Let's Talk Happily"

    Writer Yumiko Sakuma and Ainu people will exchange words for three days.
    Yumiko Sakuma will talk about the real words of the Ainu people living in the present day, and over a cup of tea, she will slowly unravel the story.
    In this talk session, you will hear valuable stories from women, men and children living in the Ainu Kotan of Lake Akan. This is an opportunity to learn more about Ainu culture, the Lake Akan Ainu Kotan, and the Utasa Festival.
    This event will be broadcasted from the official Utasa Festival Instagram account.

    ①February 3rd (Fri), 11:00-11:30(JST) "Fuchi"
    ②February 4th (Sat), 15:00-15:30(JST) "Utasa"
    ③February 4th (Sat), 21:30-22:00(JST) "People Who Put Down Roots in Akan"
    ④February 5th (Sun), 15:30-16:00(JST) "Children"
    ② can be viewed at the Lake Akan Ainu Theater Ikoro and ④ can be viewed at the Ainu Culture Tradition and Creation Museum Onnechise. Starting times are subject to change without notice. Please understand in advance.

  • Ceremony of
    the Ainu People

    Ceremony of the Ainu People "Kamuinomi"

    February 5th(Sun) from 14:20(JST), the "Kamuinomi" a ceremony performed by the Ainu people of Lake Akan themselves to thank the Kamui (gods) and pray for a peaceful life, can be observed at the Lake Akan Ainu Theater "Ikoro". It will be streamed from the official Utasa Festival Instagram account. *Please note that the starting time is subject to change without notice.

  • Ainu Food Tasting Event

    Ainu Food Tasting Event

    February 5th(Sun), from around 13:30(JST), "Ohau" and "venison skewers" will be served free of charge in the parking lot of the live music venue "Ikoro".
    Ohau is a traditional Ainu dish. It is a salty soup made of various ingredients such as salmon, venison, and other fish, meat, wild vegetables, etc. It was a central dish in the Ainu diet.
    Sanpei-jiru and Ishikari nabe which are famous in Hokkaido. Those are said to have originated from chupu (salmon) ohau. We will serve that chupu ohau this time.

    Lake Akan is also famous for its venison dishes, and the owner of Ryogoku Sohonten, a famous restaurant in Lake Akan will personally grill venison.
    The first 100 customers for each dish will be served on a first-come, first-served basis, so please take this opportunity to experience the food culture of the Ainu people.



Hokkaido, Kushiro City, Lake Akan Ainu Kotan