Iwami Kagura, the world of Japanese mythology

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Iwami Kagura

Among famous Japanese traditional performing arts like Kabuki and Noh, Kagura is the oldest and its origin goes back to the ancient Japanese mythology. It was originally offered to shinto deities to welcome and entertain them, and performed only by shinto priests and miko at shinto shrines thanking and praying for abundant crop and bumper, however, it has become widely common for the public to be enjoyed with. 

Especially in the eastern Shimane, where  is referred to as the Iwami region,  it is called “Iwami Kagura” and very popular for containing entertaining features, such as use of sound and visual effects so that the performance can be better understood for the audience.

 

 

The series of performances usually starts with a ritualistic dance to welcome the deities, and then entertaining performances follows.  Performers dressed up in gorgeous costumes dance to the rhythmical sounds made by traditional Japanese instruments.

There are varieties of about thirty programs, and performers play deities, demons, and sometimes humans who appear in ancient Japanese mythology. Among them, “Orochi” can be said as the most popular. This program is about a heroic deity Susano-o slaying an evil serpent called Yamata-no-orochi and save Princes Inada. The serpent had eight heads and eight tails and its body was long enough to cover eight peaks and valleys.

Umi Kagura

This is the special version of Kagura, which is performed on the beach. It is called “Umi (the Sea) Kagura” and take place on August 13th every year. The highlight of the day comes along the dark when they dance with the settling sun on their back. Bonfires are lit, and it makes the ritual dances even more mysterious.  

 

kagura Orochi (photo contest)

 

 

Where you can enjoy Iwami Kagura casually

==Regular Schedule== *Please refer the map below

 Oda City 

1.  Omori Town Kouryu Centre (Omori Town, Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine) [map]
Dates and times : May 3-5, Jul. 16-18, Aug. 12-15, Sep. 17-19, Oct. 8-10
                              Two 30-40 min performances (11am~ and 1:30pm~). Sometimes only one 2hr performance is given starting at 1:30pm~
Admission Fee : 500 JPY

2.  Tatsuno-gozen-jinja Shrine (Yunotsu Onsen) [map]
Dates and times : 8pm~9pm, Every Saturday
Admission Fee : 600 JPY

 Gotsu City 

3.  Yunomachi-Kaguraden (Arifuku Onsen) [map]
Dates and times : 8:30pm~9:50pm, Every Saturday
Admission Fee : 1,000 JPY

 Hamada City 

4A.  Sanku Shrine [map]
Dates and times : 7:30pm~8:30pm, Every Saturday (except for the dates and times listed in (*4B))
Admission Fee : 500 JPY

4B.  Asahi-so (Asahi Onsen)  [map]
Dates and times : 8:30pm~9:30pm, Every Saturday (Sep. 10 – Nov.19)
Admission Fee : 500 JPY

5.  AQUAS Hasshi Square  [map]
Dates and times : 1pm~3pm, Sundays and National Holidays (Apr.to Nov.)
Admission : Free of Charge

6.  Road Station Yuhi Park Hamada  [map]
Dates and times : 1pm~3pm, 2nd Sunday of every month
Admission : Free of Charge

 Masuda City 

7.  Masuda EAGA Building  [map]
Dates and times : 7:30pm~9pm, Every Saturday (except Sep. to Nov.)
Admission Fee : 500 JPY

 Tsuwano Town 

8.  Nagomi-no-sato (Tsuwano Onsen)  [map]
Dates and times : 11am~ and 2pm~, 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month
Admission Fee : Free of Charge

9.  Tsuwano Town Centre or Taikodani Inari Shrine  [map]
Dates and times : 8pm~9pm, Every Saturday (Jul. to Sep.) (except Aug.13)
Admission Fee : 650 JPY

 

==Iwami Kagura Venues==

iwamikagura_map

 

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