Okushi no Sasarabayashi

Okushi-cho, Mito city, Ibaraki

Place

Okushi no Sasarabayashi
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Date

November 23rd

Contact

Okushi Inari Jinja (shrine)/+81-292-69-2732

Related Web Site

Mito City Official Site

Overview

Okushi no Sasarabayashi is a festival held at Okushi Inari Shrine in Okushi, Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture on November 23rd every year. Sasarabayashi is performed while people pray for a rich harvest and to ward off misfortune.

“Sasara” is a Japanese lion dance; there is also a musical instrument called a sasara. In Okushi, participants don a lion mask on the end of a bamboo stick and use it as a bo-sasara. This festival started in the 14th year of Genroku Era (1701), when three sasaras were offered along with a scroll describing the order of a lion dance at Okushi Inari Shrine.

In Okushi’s Sasarabayashi, three lions – a male, a lioness, and a lion cub – perform a dance accompanied by Japanese bass drums, small drums, a gong, a Japanese flute, and a song on a stage flanked by curtains in all directions. The dance tells a story with scenes such as the male and female lion looking for their lost cub and the parent lions rejoicing at their family’s reunion.

This bo-sasara can only be seen in the Mito and Ishioka districts, Ibaraki Prefecture of Japan, which makes this festival unique. It was designated a National Intangible Folk Cultural Property in 1973.

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