|two dancers dressed as a male and female heron|
The heron dance(鷺舞, Sagimai) is a shrine ritual held as part of the Gion Festival at Yasaka Jinja Shrine(弥栄神社) in Tsuwano(津和野) on July 20th and 27th.
The lord of the Tsuwano domain started a heron dance on the model of the heron dance at the Gion Festival in Yamaguchi in 1542. The heron dance in Yamaguchi was modeled after the Kyoto Gion Festival. People living in Kyoto didn't know about european magpie(鵲, kasasagi), so they created a egret(sagi) in a woven hat(kasa). Now european magpies also live in the Kyushu region.
After temporary interruption, two members of the domain was sent to Kyoto to master the dance in 1643.
|Kosagi no mai|
This dance is based on a Chinese legend that a pair of lovers separated by the Milky Way can see each other once a year on the 7th day of the 7th month and an european magpie with spread out wings works as a bridge for them.
I've been to Tsuwano.
Tsuwano is a little and relaxing castle town and is referred to as the "small Kyoto in San'in Region." Old samurai residences line up and many colored carps swim in the roadside canals along the plaster walls there.
Otome Pass(乙女峠) in Tsuwano is a Catholic holy site because 36 Christians were martyred for their faith there. The town is also the birthplace of Mori Ogai(森鴎外), one of Japan's great novelists.
2 photos by 季節の花 ３００
3 photos by 列島宝物館