Monday, October 11, 2010



On the way back from the matsuri up in Yamanaka I stopped in at the matsuri at the Futonorito shrine in Kawado.

Kirime was being performed. This is the second half of the dance that begins with Kakko, and sometimes only the Kakko section is performed.

In Kirime, the kami of benevolence (kirime) takes pity on Kakko and descends with an aide to teach the proper etiquette for rituals. In essence it is a primer on shugendo ritual. The dance originates from and is set in the area of Wakayama that was the center of shugendo.


It had beenb raining on and off all night, and that may be why there were not many people in the audience.


The next dance was a shinji, a ritual dance, called a sword dance though no swords are used. It was originally a part of the Kamimukae, welcoming the gods dance, but at some point split off and became a seperate dance.


Around 4;30am I headed home. Walking through a village in the wee hours of the morning while the sound of the drums and flute waft over the rooftops is a defining experience of Japan for me. Quite probably the experience I would miss the most if I lived in a city or outside Japan.

Crossing the bridge over the misty river, the sound still carries one kilometer away.


  1. Very nice post. I enjoyed your photos and explanation.

    Please, if you have time, come to see my blog about Sendai-shi between 1953-1956.


  2. Hi Abraham
    I do check your blog every now and then and enjoy the posts :)

  3. Your wonderful image of walking through the village in early morning with the sounds of drums and flutes following you is as evocative as the photos. Rain may have kept people away but I'm sure the kami were there!

  4. Ah - love the images that you paint, both with photos and words. I'm glad the countryside is still keeping the spirit (literally) alive.