Hinoki no Shishimai

Oasa-cho, Naruto City, Tokushima


Oasahiko Jinja, Bando, Oasa-cho, Naruto City, Tokushima
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November 1st


Ooasahiko Jinja (shrine)

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Hinoki Shishimai Preservation Society (Facebook)


For more than 400 years, the Hinoki-no-Shishimai lion dance has been dedicated as a prayer for a bumper crop and home safety. This dance is performed at the festivals of three shrines, Kumano Shrine, Yamagami Shrine, and Atago Shrine, which are tutelary deities, and at Oasahiko Shrine Annual Festival, which is the most important festival.

Hinoki-no-Shishimai is performed concurrently with the ritual, and the nature of the dedication is remarkably strong. One person is the lion’s head and another the tail, so it is essential that their dancing is well coordinated. The dance is performed by two lions, one male and one female, and the story comprises five scenes. As the two young lions are sleeping, butterflies fly about them; they then wake up, grow up, and marry. They argue with each other and reconcile at the end of the story.

This ceremony is quite powerful with the two lions moving symmetrically to the lively rhythm of drums, jumping or bumping into each other.

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