Gohōtō (Noble Treasure Head)
Location: Kotaki, Kisakata-machi, Nikaho City
Site(s) of performance: Kinpō Shrine and other places in the community
Date(s): 2nd Saturday of June (the day of Kinpō Shrine’s annual festival)
At Kotaki, the lion head for shishimai (lion dance) is called gohōtō (noble treasure head). It is a Twelve-Number Lion Dance (also called the ‘Noble Head Dance’), a dance of prayer that is widely practiced in the area around Mt. Chōkai. It is performed by two people for one lion. Its name may refer to the 12 months of the year, but probably it is so named for it has 12 types of lion dance. A male lion dances with a sword and a female lion without it. The priest stands with the altar to his back and the lion dances facing the priest and the altar. While the lion is dancing, the priest holds up the talisman, dried squid, dried seaweed, and sword to the mouth of the lion, and the lion bites them one after another. As the lion is dancing, the priest faces it and continues to read out celebratory words.