Hiraoka Lion Dance
Location: Utetsu, Yurihonjo City
Site(s) of performance: Hakusan Shrine, Iwaya-Shinzan Shrine, Chōkokuji Temple, and other places in the community
Date(s): May 5 and August 14–16 and 22.
Category: Sasara and Horse Dance
According to legend, when the priest Zezan-Taikaku founded Akata-Chōkokuji Temple at Arasawa, he saw three lions playing around in the field. He created a dance from the three lions’ moves and taught the villagers of Hiraoka how to dance it. In the present day, the lion dance is played on August 14 and 15 in the gardens of individual houses to repel evil spirits. On August 16, the dance is performed as an offering at the annual festival of Hakusan Shrine, after which the lions dance once again in the house of the guardian of the lion heads. In addition, the dance is performed on August 22 for the annual festival of Akata Great Buddha Statue at Chōkokuji Temple and on May 5 for the annual festival of Iwaya-Shinzan Shrine.