Location: Koyamada, Nishiki-maki, Semboku City
Site(s) of performance: Yatsu Kannondō Temple, Anrakuji Temple, and other places in the community
Date(s): August 13, 14, 17, and 20
Designation: City-Designated Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property
Category: Sasara and Horse Dance
It is believed that Lord Tozawa Kanemori, who lived in Kami-Hinokinai (in the former Nishiki Village) in the 13th century, brought the lion dance here. It was then the practice for the warriors to perform the sasara dance at the annual festival of Koyamada Kannondō Temple as a prayer for military success and survival. When the Tozawa family moved to Kakunodate in 1601, Akakura Zensuke of Koyamada taught villagers the sasara dance, and since then the villagers have performed it every year on July 16 in the lunar calendar. They deliver the first performance of the year at Kannondō Temple, pray for Buddha at Anrakuji Temple, and go around the community performing the sasara at individual houses with prayers for safety, the repulsion of evil spirits, and good harvests of all crops. Music is played with Japanese flutes, hand gongs, big drums, and binzasara (a percussion instrument with wooden plates).