Location: Akata, Yurihonjo City
Site(s) of performance: Shinmei Shrine and Chōkokuji Temple
Date(s): August 22
Shagiri means ‘shutting out.’ It was originally meant to protect shugen ascetics from evil spirits, and later was introduced into Shinto festivals. Akata Shagiri is performed at the joint festival of Chōkokuji Temple and Shinmei Shrine, which was first held in 1778 for the construction of a 5-meter Buddha statue and the shrine building. It is now widely known as an example of syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism. At the head of the procession, decorated umbrellas are lifted high, gongs decorated with flowers follow, and drum music follows. Musicians wear traditional yukata and braided straw hats. In addition to the drums, they play gongs, small drums, Japanese flutes, and shamisen (three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instruments).