Hakusan Shrine Lion Dance
Location: Tsuchikawa-Miyabarashi, Daisen City
Site(s) of performance: Hakusan Shrine
Date(s): April 17
This lion dance is part of kagura dance, and thus is called shishi-kagura (lion kagura dance). At Hakusan Shrine, both dance and music are performed as an offering on April 17 by the priests. It follows the rituals of kagura, including hot water (yudate) rituals. It starts with the Five-Clap Dance, Yukaji (Hot Water Prayer) Dance, Sakaki (Sacred Branch) Dance, Maiden Dance, God-Closing Dance, and Lion Dance. In the Lion Dance, the performer of the lion remains squatting and moves the lion to the left and to the right, biting the air violently and blowing the lion whistle. Worshippers hold out hand towels or other objects to let the lion bite them. After the dances, purification with the lion head is performed. The origin is unclear, but Hakusan Shrine itself was founded in 717 and this dance was practiced already in the Edo era.