Kushi Shrine Lion Head Dance (Hatsu-uma Rituals)
Location: Himeno, Nikaho City
Site(s) of performance: Kushi Shrine and other places in the community
Date(s): Hatsu-uma (i.e., the first Day of the Ox in February)
The performance mainly consists of the Lion Head Dance (also called the Twelve-Number Lion Dance), a kind of shishimai (lion dance) on the occasion of the Inari Festival on the day of Hatsu-uma (the first Day of the Ox in February). The performers, young boys up to the third grade in junior high schools, used to go around the community executing the dance for prayer at individual houses upon request. It is now performed by the members of the shrine’s priest’s family, and they only walk around the community with the lion head without performing the dance.